Ask Your Question

"right_arm_base_link" passed to lookupTransform argument target_frame does not exist.

asked 2018-05-23 23:41:04 -0600

lr101095 gravatar image

updated 2018-05-31 00:26:33 -0600

ros kinetic, ubuntu 16.04, gazebo 7, intera 5.2 (for sawyer robot), kinect camera in simulation.

trying to transform pointcloud from kinect frame to base from of a sawyer robot. i've coded for this inside another void function that estimates the normals for each point in a point cloud.

trying to use transformPointCloud from /tf. code compiles properly, but i get the following error:

[ERROR] [1527657751.698135439, 3503.701000000]: Lookup would require extrapolation at time 3503.478000000, but only time 3503.692000000 is in the buffer, when looking up transform from frame [depth_link] to frame [right_arm_base_link]

when i "ctrl+c"

terminate called after throwing an instance of 'tf2::LookupException'
  what():  "right_arm_base_link" passed to lookupTransform argument target_frame does not exist.

This is the code i'm using.

tf::TransformListener listener;
tf::StampedTransform transform;

// Perform point cloud transformation

ros::Time now = ros::Time(0);

listener.waitForTransform("/right_arm_base_link", "/depth_link", now, ros::Duration(5.0), ros::Duration(2));//, error_msg); // base on line 193 of /tf/tf.h
listener.lookupTransform("/right_arm_base_link", "/depth_link", now, transform); // based on line 129 /tf/tf.h
pcl::PointCloud<pcl::PointXYZRGBNormal>::Ptr trans_cloud (new pcl::PointCloud<pcl::PointXYZRGBNormal>);
pcl_ros::transformPointCloud("/right_arm_base_link", *cloud_with_normals, *trans_cloud, listener); // based on line 131 /pcl_ros/transforms.h

// Publish transformed point cloud
sensor_msgs::PointCloud2 ros_trans_out;
pcl::toROSMsg( *trans_cloud, ros_trans_out);
tf_pub.publish (ros_trans_out);

*cloud_with_normals is of type PointCloud2 and is my point cloud in. *trans_cloud is my point cloud out, also PointCloud2. the goal is to be able to publish the transformed point cloud to a rostopic (publisher has been omitted from the question). my concern is that right_arm_base_link is not being recognised, but it appears in the transformation tree when i used $ rostopic echo /tf.

I can also use the following to determine the actual transformation between right_arm_base_link and depth_link:

$ rosrun tf tf_echo right_arm_base_link depth_link

and it will yield:

At time 2358.846
- Translation: [0.547, 0.183, 0.017]
- Rotation: in Quaternion [-0.081, 0.701, 0.080, 0.704]
            in RPY (radian) [-0.336, 1.567, -0.108]
            in RPY (degree) [-19.257, 89.763, -6.202]
At time 2359.846
- Translation: [0.547, 0.183, 0.017]
- Rotation: in Quaternion [-0.081, 0.701, 0.080, 0.704]
            in RPY (radian) [-0.335, 1.567, -0.107]
            in RPY (degree) [-19.206, 89.763, -6.146]

can anyone suggest what i'm doing wrong or how to fix this issue? i will provide more detail if and when needed.

Thanks in advance!

~ Luke


I've tried to use a try/catch. see code below.

        listener.waitForTransform("/right_arm_base_link", "/depth_link", now, ros::Duration(5.0), ros::Duration(2)); // base on line 193 of /tf/tf.h
        listener.lookupTransform("/right_arm_base_link", "/depth_link", now, transform); // based on line 129 /tf/tf.h
        std::cerr << "Transform lookup failed" << std::endl;

I still receive the error regarding extrapolating the transformation for a time other than the requested time. now is still the same as the now defined in the code above.

edit retag flag offensive close merge delete


Just a guess, but: you're instantiating your TransformListener 2 lines before you try to do a lookup. Assuming the code you show is your actual code, that most likely won't work.

TF relies on a buffer. The TransformListener maintains that buffer and stores msgs coming in over /tf in it. ..

gvdhoorn gravatar imagegvdhoorn ( 2018-05-24 01:34:59 -0600 )edit

.. You need to give TransformListener some time to populate the buffer, otherwise it won't ever be able to lookup anything, as the things you're asking for are not in its buffer yet.

gvdhoorn gravatar imagegvdhoorn ( 2018-05-24 01:36:56 -0600 )edit

how much time would you consider to be a sufficient buffer? I did see something like "waitforTransform"? not sure if that might be what you're talking about. I tried using it for a time, but if never compiled properly. i just ended up omitting it.

lr101095 gravatar imagelr101095 ( 2018-05-24 01:43:19 -0600 )edit

how much time

There is no exact answer to this, as it depends on your TF tree, the rate of publishing and which parts of the tree you want to lookup transforms in. A partial view of the tree is fine, as long as you stay inside it.

I would recommend to instantiate your TransformListener in ..

gvdhoorn gravatar imagegvdhoorn ( 2018-05-24 01:47:16 -0600 )edit

.. the ctor of a class, or in the initialisation phase of your program if not using classes. Then always combine it with waitForTransform(..): that way you can deterministically error-out if something is not found in the buffer. Either immediately, or after a configurable timeout.

gvdhoorn gravatar imagegvdhoorn ( 2018-05-24 01:48:31 -0600 )edit

I think a good rule of thumb could be: if you're instantiating your TransformListener in the same scope as where you're calling lookupTransform(..) (and you're not explicitly sleeping for some time and are not using waitForTransform(..)) you're going to have a bad time (tm).

gvdhoorn gravatar imagegvdhoorn ( 2018-05-24 01:49:48 -0600 )edit

I'm currently look at 2. Wait for Transform and trying to write the try/catch. What would be the exception to write for the catch? tf2::LookupException?

lr101095 gravatar imagelr101095 ( 2018-05-24 19:07:01 -0600 )edit

I also edited my question to show the full error before it Aborts(core dump).

lr101095 gravatar imagelr101095 ( 2018-05-24 19:10:02 -0600 )edit

1 Answer

Sort by ยป oldest newest most voted

answered 2018-05-30 01:05:39 -0600

tfoote gravatar image

Please read through the tutorials. You should always expect that any call to lookup_transform could throw, and be ready to catch and recover.

If you're buffer has not initialized, there's a network hiccup or many other things can cause exceptions. Your code should be ready to gracefully fallback.

You should initialize your listener once, often in the constructor/initialization of your class or at least before your main loop, so it's always persistent and maintaining the cache to support lookups. And then put every call into a try/catch block with appropriate fallback behavior. You'll find that this is how most of the

Please take a look at the tf2 tutorials especially

edit flag offensive delete link more


@lr101095: this is basically what I also wrote in my comments.

gvdhoorn gravatar imagegvdhoorn ( 2018-05-30 03:26:39 -0600 )edit

Yeah, definitely all @gvdhoorn s points are valid and mostly overlapping.

tfoote gravatar imagetfoote ( 2018-05-30 03:33:47 -0600 )edit

@tfoote: didn't mean to say "why did Tully write this answer". It was more of a "see, you now have two inputs saying basically the same" kind of comment.

gvdhoorn gravatar imagegvdhoorn ( 2018-05-30 03:34:58 -0600 )edit

@tfoote@gvdhoorn i had a look at /tf2, and correct me if i'm wrong, but it doesnt look like that tf2 can handle PointCloud2(?). hence why in the code that i posted, i focus mainly on using /tf.

lr101095 gravatar imagelr101095 ( 2018-05-30 23:42:59 -0600 )edit

from what i've seen and read in my research to learn how to transform PointCloud2, i can't use /t2. i've also had a look on my PC to see if any of the /tf2 includes can handle PointCloud2, and they cant

lr101095 gravatar imagelr101095 ( 2018-05-30 23:44:30 -0600 )edit

I think a major flaw is that i do not have tf_sensor_msgs or geometry2 packages. i tried to install geometry2 into my catkin workspace but it complains that no package 'bullet' found. any suggestions? thanks a lot by the way to both of you

lr101095 gravatar imagelr101095 ( 2018-05-31 01:43:00 -0600 )edit

The name of the package is tf2_sensor_msgs, there is no tf_sensor_msgs package.

i tried to install geometry2 into my catkin workspace but it complains that no package 'bullet' found.

Please avoid building these things from source, there is no need and will only muddle things.

gvdhoorn gravatar imagegvdhoorn ( 2018-05-31 01:43:49 -0600 )edit

Your Answer

Please start posting anonymously - your entry will be published after you log in or create a new account.

Add Answer

Question Tools

1 follower


Asked: 2018-05-23 23:41:04 -0600

Seen: 1,928 times

Last updated: May 31 '18