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

Jack O'Quin jack.oquin at gmail.com
Tue May 24 23:46:02 UTC 2011

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.


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