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issue of default frame_id for velodyne_pointcloud/Transform2

asked 2012-02-15 20:59:04 -0600

clark gravatar image

updated 2012-02-16 03:19:05 -0600

joq gravatar image

I am testing loading a pcap file and transform velodyne_msgs/VelodyneScan into /velodyne/pointcloud2, and that the converted pointcloud2 data looks not right. And I think that this is caused by the default frame_id setting.

By default, the frame_id of velodyne_msgs/VelodyneScan is "velodyne" and the frame_id for /velodyne/pointcloud2 is "odom", and here is my launch file,

  <node pkg="tf" type="static_transform_publisher" name="velodyne_broadcaster" 
        args="0 0 2 0 0 0 base velodyne 10" />
  <node pkg="tf" type="static_transform_publisher" name="base_broadcaster"
        args="0 0 0 0 0 0 odom base 100" />
  <node pkg="tf" type="static_transform_publisher" name="odom_broadcaster"
        args="0 0 0 0 0 0 map odom 100" />

  <node pkg="velodyne_common" type="read" name="read" 
        args="-f $(find velodyne_common)/../velodyne_data_01/unit_46_Monterey_subset.pcap" >
        <param name="frame_id" type="string" value="velodyne" />

  <!-- start nodelet manager -->
  <node pkg="nodelet" type="nodelet" name="velodyne_nodelet_manager" 
        args="manager" />

  <!--transform velodyne/packets into pointcloud2 via nodelet -->
  <node pkg="nodelet" type="nodelet" name="transform2" 
        args="load velodyne_pointcloud/Transform2 velodyne_nodelet_manager" > 

  <node pkg="rviz" type="rviz" name="rviz" />


The original data coordinates are relative to the velodyne frame, yet the converted pointcloud2 shifted down (2 meters, in this case) from the velodyne frame. Then I have to respecify the frame_id for pointcloud2 to "velodyne" in order to locate the resultant pointcloud2 correctly.

So my feeling is that the above default frame_id looks not so reasonable, since typically there is a determinate tf tree in the scenario and the pointcloud2 should not be remapped arbitrarily to a frame other than the default value "velodyne". Correct me if I am wrong.


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answered 2012-02-16 03:18:18 -0600

joq gravatar image

updated 2012-02-17 05:32:05 -0600

The velodyne_pointcloud package is currently in active development. We hope to release a complete version soon, but until then you should only use it experimentally.

As part of this redesign, the velodyne_common package will soon be deprecated. If you want to try the new, experimental packages, there is a driver nodelet that goes with velodyne_pointcloud (start the nodelet manager first):

<node pkg="nodelet" type="nodelet" name="driver_nodelet"
      args="load velodyne_driver/DriverNodelet velodyne_nodelet_manager" />

There is currently an active design review for the velodyne stack. Please sign up and contribute your ideas and suggestions.


The main purpose of the transform nodelet is transforming data from a moving device into some stationary coordinate frame. The Velodyne turns at 10Hz, so the vehicle can move far enough to affect registration during a compete revolution. REP-0105 recommends the /odom frame for that purpose. Since your needs may vary, the frame_id parameter is provided.

If you just want the data converted to sensor_msgs/PointCloud2 in the /velodyne frame, the velodyne_pointcloud/Cloud2Nodelet should suffice.

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Asked: 2012-02-15 20:59:04 -0600

Seen: 924 times

Last updated: Feb 17 '12