[ros-users] Importing / including a new library into ROS (OctoMap)

Armin Hornung HornungA at informatik.uni-freiburg.de
Fri Apr 23 08:56:49 UTC 2010


I was wondering what the right "ROS way" would be to include an 
opensource library (complete with Doxygen documentation) into ROS. With 
my colleagues, we developed a 3D mapping framework based on octrees 
(http://octomap.sf.net/, will be presented at the BRICS workshop at 
ICRA) which is available under GPL in its own Sourceforge repository.

In the source tree (see 
http://octomap.svn.sourceforge.net/viewvc/octomap/trunk/), there's a 
"ros" directory which can be added to the ROS_PACKAGE_PATH. In there, 
there's a sort of "virtual" octomap package that provides the flags for 
linker and compiler. That all works nice and the library can be used in 
other ROS nodes as well. But how would that be correctly integrated into 
the ROS repository structure? Does that nearly empty "virtual" package 
in a subdirectory pose a problem? Would you mind adding a repository to 
the list of ROS repositories that just contains one library?

 From what I've seen with other external libraries (e.g. Eigen, OpenCV), 
the ROS package is a similar forwarding package which in addition 
downloads and installs the library from an external location. That would 
also work, we could put the ROS octomap in our existing "alufr-ros-pkg" 
ROS repository, which would then pull the code from the "real" 
octomap-SVN at sourceforge. It just didn't seem the right thing to do to 
create another step for installing and downloading when you have control 
over the original repository anyways. Plus, we would need to take care 
that the code in the two repositories stays in sync in terms of the API, 
instead of changing things only in one place.

Maybe there are other ideas on what to do (e.g. with svn:externals?), or 
is the current repository / folder structure the way to go?


Armin Hornung                              Albert-Ludwigs-Universität
www.informatik.uni-freiburg.de/~hornunga   Dept. of Computer Science
HornungA at informatik.uni-freiburg.de        Humanoid Robots Lab
Tel.: +49 (0)761-203-8010                  Georges-Köhler-Allee 79
Fax : +49 (0)761-203-8007                  D-79110 Freiburg, Germany

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