[ros-users] defining interfaces for GPS way-points and mapping

Chad Rockey chadrockey at gmail.com
Wed Jun 1 22:33:07 UTC 2011

Hi Jack,

Eric and I are both finishing our theses and starting jobs this month, but
we'd be willing to provide our limited input to this.  We've only worked
with off-road mobile robots with very simple waypoints, nothing like Open
Street Maps or Google Maps; although something like that would be great to
see happen.

I do like the idea of a common UTM conversion tool.

Another possible tool would be KML import and export to waypoints/paths,
since this makes it easy to visualize and create paths in Google Earth/Maps.
 For our waypoints, we would define them in KML files either by clicking in
Google Earth or manually typing in coordinates.  Then we could feed this to
our robot which would start following them in order or we could look at the
path either as markers or as a polygon in Google Earth.  Even though the
imagery data could be a meter or two off, it was still very useful when
great precision wasn't required or we just wanted to look at the overall

Here is an example KML path file:

- Chad

On Tue, May 24, 2011 at 7:46 PM, Jack O'Quin <jack.oquin at gmail.com> wrote:

> For the Diamondback distribution, the ROS community created some
> common message formats[1] for basic satellite navigation in the
> sensor_msgs package. That was a good discussion, which defined a well
> thought-out API.
>  [1]
> http://www.ros.org/wiki/sensor_msgs/Reviews/2010-05-31%20GPS%20Proposal_API_Review
> There was no opportunity then for defining additional messages and
> tools for mapping and way-points. But, some people expressed an
> interest in further work along those lines.
> We (UT Austin/ART autonomous vehicle developers) want to define new
> messages and interfaces for street and highway navigation. I think
> other outdoor robot projects (ground, aerial, and marine) probably
> have overlapping goals. So, we could profitably collaborate on
> messages for way-points and perhaps for working with databases like
> Open Street Map[2] and Google Maps[3]. We could create packages for
> displaying maps, converting to and from Universal Transverse
> Mercator[4] coordinate frames, etc. To the extent that we can share
> code or interfaces, this presents an opportunity to help each other
> and provide generally useful tools.
>  [2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OpenStreetMap
>  [3] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_Maps
>  [4]
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Universal_Transverse_Mercator_coordinate_system
> Our preliminary work suggests that this is not going to be easy. We
> are not ready to propose common ROS message definitions. But, maybe
> others in the ROS community have good solutions already or would like
> to work with us to develop them.
> Are you interested in working with us on this? If so, please let me
> know. I can think of several ways to proceed depending on the level
> and type of interest.
> Regards,
> --
>  joq
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