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Zero copy passing of OpenCV datatypes with nodelets

asked 2013-01-28 12:10:26 -0600

Tones gravatar image


I am thinking about setting up an image processing pipeline using nodelets for a high flexibility. Is there a easy way to pass OpenCV datatypes between nodelets without having to convert them to ros-messages? For example, I would like to pass pointers to image data associated with cv::Mat objects stored in a shared memory. I want to avoid copying or converting this data.

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answered 2013-01-28 17:00:10 -0600

Chad Rockey gravatar image

You don't want to start with the OpenCV datatypes. The best method in ROS is to use nodelets with sensor_msgs::ImageConstPtrs. Then you cast them to a cv share using cv_bridge:

This shares the large amount of image data that you do not want to copy, but sets up the correct metadata for each image type.

If you want to see this "in the wild" take a look at image_pipline, it all uses nodelets and follows best practices for image processing in ROS:

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Thanks for your answer!

Tones gravatar image Tones  ( 2013-01-29 05:59:23 -0600 )edit

answered 2013-01-29 06:01:45 -0600

Tones gravatar image

Thanks for your answers! Another interesting possiblity to setup such an pipeline with shared image memory seems to be ECTO ( This is "a hybrid C++/Python framework for organizing computations as directed acyclic graphs". Among others, there is a module which wraps the openCV library.

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answered 2013-01-28 16:20:47 -0600

As you mentioned, you could try using shared memory. A good library for that is Boost Interprocess. You can find an example of cv::Mat object passing using Boost Interprocess here.

Please note that your system will hardly be as flexible for connections as nodelets would be. I actually think the ROS message conversion isn't that big an overhead, but please check for yourself if you feel it will be benefitial for your application.

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Asked: 2013-01-28 12:10:26 -0600

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Last updated: Jan 29 '13