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Creating custom Gazebo world files from sdf's/dae's for use with roslaunch


I have been trying to figure this out for a couple of days now and am having trouble. Basically I want to create a world file to be launched via roslaunch that is composed of number of model sdf's that reference local meshes from within my package (e.g., <mesh><uri>file://mesh_name.dae</uri></mesh>). I then want to spawn one or more robots into said world using 'gazebo_ros spawn_model'.

When using roslaunch Gazebo can't seem to find any files outside of the .gazebo folder and I get the following errors:

Error [] File or path does not exist[""]

Error [] No mesh specified

I have read over the tutorials about making custom worlds at but all of the tutorials use models from the Gazebo model data base (i.e., < uri>model://pioneer2dx/meshes/chassis.dae< /uri>). There is also text on how to use spawn_model with urdf's but not collada's?

What is the best way to do this while keeping the models local to a package? I seem to remember seeing someone mention using Gazebo's environment variables but this seems like an awkward solution.

Thanks, Brett