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Map navigation

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Map navigation is technique for navigation based on map and localization at this map. For map creation as you have seen in previous tutorials can be used gmapping_node.

Map saving#

SLAM based on for instance gmapping works this way that localization and map is available till node is running, when you close your node you will lose all your explored map.

To deal with this we can save map, this is done by map_server , map server is package providing all needed nodes for managing map.

Steps for map saving#

  • Explore map

For map exploration run tutorial_8 for autonomous exploration or tutorial 6/7 for doing it manually.

  • Save map

Once map is explored open another terminal and go to tutorial_pkg/maps, create map directory if you don't have this one.

roscd tutorial_pkgmkdir mapscd mapsrosrun map_server map_saver -f maze_map

This command saves map under current working directory with name specified after -f param.

After executing this command you should have two files:

maze_map.pgm  maze_map.yaml

File maze_map.yaml contains all information about this map and it should look as follows:

image: maze_map.pgmresolution: 0.010000origin: [-5.000000, -5.000000, 0.000000]negate: 0occupied_thresh: 0.65free_thresh: 0.196


  • image - Path to the image file containing the occupancy data; can be absolute, or relative to the location of the YAML file.

  • resolution - Resolution of the map, meters / pixel.

  • origin - The 2-D pose of the lower-left pixel in the map, as (x, y, yaw), with yaw as counterclockwise rotation (yaw=0 means no rotation).

  • negate - Whether the white/black free/occupied semantics should be reversed (interpretation of thresholds is unaffected).

  • occupied_thresh - Pixels with occupancy probability greater than this threshold are considered completely occupied.

  • free_thresh - Pixels with occupancy probability less than this threshold are considered completely free.

Map loading#

To load map we use map_server_node, use this in following way:

rosrun map_server map_server maze_map.yaml

Below we will create launch file for map_server.

<launch><arg name="map_file" default="$(find tutorial_pkg)/maps/maze_map.yaml"/>       <!-- path of map file --><node name="map_server" pkg="map_server" type="map_server" args="$(arg map_file)" respawn="true" /></launch>

Save this file in launch directory and name it map_launch.launch


AMCL is a probabilistic localization system for a robot moving in 2D. It implements the adaptive (or KLD-sampling) Monte Carlo localization approach (as described by Dieter Fox ), which uses a particle filter to track the pose of a robot against a known map.

What it does is basically locating robot on map based on how map looks and how current laser scan match to map. Put simply, AMCL + map_server replaces gmapping.

AMCL params#

There are a lot of params provided by AMCL node, we will focus on those which are most important, for all please refer to amcl

  • scan - Laser scan topic.

  • global_frame_id - Frame name of global frame, usually it's map

  • odom_frame_id - Frame name of odom.

  • base_frame_id - Frame name of base.

  • odom_model_type - Method of how your navigates options are diff/omni ,but use fixed algorithms with -corrected suffix. Example: "diff-corrected".

  • update_min_d - Translational movement required before performing a filter update.

  • update_min_a - Rotational movement required before performing a filter update.

  • min_particles - Minimum allowed number of particles. How many of laser scan points is used to estimate position, if you have changing environment consider enlarging this param.

  • tf_broadcast - Decide if publish the transform between the global frame and the odometry frame.

  • initial_pose_x - Initial pose mean (x), you should set this param different than "0.0" only if place where robot starts navigation is different than start point for map. If it's small distance you should leave this as "0.0".

  • initial_pose_y - Initial pose mean (x). Use this the same way as initial_pose_x.

  • initial_pose_a - Initial pose mean (yaw). Use this the same way as initial_pose_x.

Initial Pose#

When using initial_pose_* make sure where map origin is (starting point of map building) and then provide coordinates of robot relative to this point. Distance in metres and angle in the radians.

This might be little confusing especially if you are not sure where map was started to be build. For this case there is better way using rviz.

When you launch and the pose calculated by AMCL doesn't match real pose use 2D Estimate Pose from rviz. Select point the same way as navigation goal.


Launch navigation#

AMCL Launch#

Create launch file for AMCL based on params we have discussed, and save it under launch directory and name amcl_only.launch :

<launch>    <node pkg="amcl" type="amcl" name="amcl" output="screen">    <remap from="scan" to="scan"/>    <param name="odom_frame_id" value="odom"/>    <param name="odom_model_type" value="diff-corrected"/>    <param name="base_frame_id" value="base_link"/>    <param name="update_min_d" value="0.1"/>    <param name="update_min_a" value="0.2"/>    <param name="min_particles" value="500"/>    <param name="global_frame_id" value="map"/>    <param name="tf_broadcast" value="true" />    <param name="initial_pose_x" value="0.0"/>    <param name="initial_pose_y" value="0.0"/>    <param name="initial_pose_a" value="0.0"/>  </node>   </launch>

Map Launch#

Create following file in launch directory and name it map_server.launch :

<launch>    <arg name="map_file" default="$(find tutorial_pkg)/maps/maze_map.yaml"/>       <!-- path of map file -->    <node name="map_server" pkg="map_server" type="map_server" args="$(arg map_file)" respawn="true" /></launch>

Final launch#

Okay, let's create one launch file combining all what we need to provide autonomous navigation based on map and amcl.

Save following file as tutorial_9.launch :

  <arg name="rosbot_pro" default="false" />  <arg name="use_gazebo" default="false" />
  <!-- Gazebo -->  <group if="$(arg use_gazebo)">    <include file="$(find rosbot_gazebo)/launch/maze_world.launch" />    <include file="$(find rosbot_description)/launch/rosbot_gazebo.launch"/>    <param name="use_sim_time" value="true" />  </group>
  <!-- ROSbot 2.0 -->  <group unless="$(arg use_gazebo)">    <include file="$(find rosbot_ekf)/launch/all.launch">      <arg name="rosbot_pro" value="$(arg rosbot_pro)" />    </include>
    <include if="$(arg rosbot_pro)" file="$(find rplidar_ros)/launch/rplidar_a3.launch" />    <include unless="$(arg rosbot_pro)" file="$(find rplidar_ros)/launch/rplidar.launch" />  </group>
  <node unless="$(arg use_gazebo)" pkg="tf" type="static_transform_publisher" name="laser_broadcaster" args="0 0 0 3.14 0 0 base_link laser 100" />
  <node pkg="teleop_twist_keyboard" type="" name="teleop_twist_keyboard" output="screen"/>
  <node pkg="move_base" type="move_base" name="move_base" output="screen">    <param name="controller_frequency" value="10.0"/>    <rosparam file="$(find tutorial_pkg)/config/costmap_common_params.yaml" command="load" ns="global_costmap" />    <rosparam file="$(find tutorial_pkg)/config/costmap_common_params.yaml" command="load" ns="local_costmap" />    <rosparam file="$(find tutorial_pkg)/config/local_costmap_params.yaml" command="load" />    <rosparam file="$(find tutorial_pkg)/config/global_costmap_params.yaml" command="load" />    <rosparam file="$(find tutorial_pkg)/config/trajectory_planner.yaml" command="load" />  </node>
  <node pkg="explore_lite" type="explore" respawn="true" name="explore" output="screen">    <rosparam file="$(find tutorial_pkg)/config/exploration.yaml" command="load" />  </node>
  <include file="$(find tutorial_pkg)/launch/map_server.launch"/>
  <include file="$(find tutorial_pkg)/launch/amcl_only.launch"/>
  <node pkg="rviz" type="rviz" name="rviz"/>

Launch this with commands:


roslaunch tutorial_pkg tutorial_9.launch 


roslaunch tutorial_pkg tutorial_9.launch use_gazebo:=true

Then open another terminal and check out how it works with rviz. You should be able to set target using 2D Nav Goal and robot should drive there.


When you create new map change map path to proper at map_server.launch file.


After completing this tutorial you should be able to configure AMCL and use map_server nodes to navigate robot at previously created map.

by Adam Krawczyk, Husarion

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