[ROS2 Q&A] 216 – How to Use Static Transform Publisher in ROS2

[ROS2 Q&A] 216 - How to Use Static Transform Publisher in ROS2

Written by Ruben Alves

19/11/2021

What we are going to learn

  1. How to create a package in ROS2
  2. How to write a python launch file
  3. How to define a static transform

List of resources used in this post

  1. ROS Development Studio (ROSDS) —▸ http://rosds.online
  2. Robot Ignite Academy –▸ https://www.robotigniteacademy.com
  3. Question asked on ROS Answers –▸ https://answers.ros.org/question/372752/static_transform_publisher-in-ros2-launch-file/

Creating a rosject

In order to learn how to use a static transform, we need a ROS2 Python package. We are going to use The Construct (https://www.theconstructsim.com/) for this tutorial, but if you have ROS2 installed on your own computer, you should be able to do ~everything on your own computer, except this creating a rosject part.

Let’s start by opening The Construct (https://www.theconstructsim.com/) and logging in. You can easily create a free account if you still don’t have one.

Once inside, let’s create My Rosjects and then, Create a new rosject:

My Rosjects

My Rosjects

 

Create a new rosject

Create a new rosject

For the rosject, let’s select ROS2 Foxy for the ROS Distro, let’s name the rosject as static_tf_publisher. You can leave the rosject public.

Static TF Publisher

Static TF Publisher

If you mouse over the recently created rosject, you should see a Run button. Just click that button to launch the rosject.

Creating a ROS2 package named static_tf_transform

Once the rosject is open, we can now create a package that will be used to publish the static transform.

Let’s open a new terminal by clicking on the Open a new shell window button:

Open a new shell

Open a new shell

Once the terminal is open, we can list the files with the ls command:

user:~$ ls
ai_ws  catkin_ws  notebook_ws  ros2_ws  simulation_ws  webpage_ws

We can see a workspace named ros2_ws. Let’s enter that workspace using cd ros2_ws/:

user:~$ cd ros2_ws/
user:~/ros2_ws$

Let’s now source our workspace with:

source ~/ros2_ws/install/setup.bash

Let’s now enter our src folder:

 cd ~/ros2_ws/src/

And create a package named static_tf :

ros2 pkg create --build-type ament_python static_tf

The output should be similar to:

going to create a new package
package name: static_tf
destination directory: /home/user/ros2_ws/src
package format: 3
version: 0.0.0
description: TODO: Package description
maintainer: ['user <user@todo.todo>']
licenses: ['TODO: License declaration']
build type: ament_python
dependencies: []
creating folder ./static_tf
creating ./static_tf/package.xml
creating source folder
creating folder ./static_tf/static_tf
creating ./static_tf/setup.py
creating ./static_tf/setup.cfg
creating folder ./static_tf/resource
creating ./static_tf/resource/static_tf
creating ./static_tf/static_tf/__init__.py
creating folder ./static_tf/test
creating ./static_tf/test/test_copyright.py
creating ./static_tf/test/test_flake8.py
creating ./static_tf/test/test_pep257.py

If you now list your src folder using ls, you should be able to see our package:

user:~/ros2_ws/src$ ls
static_tf

We can now enter into this static_tf package using cd static_tf/ and create a launch folder there, and a file named static_tf_launch.py on that folder:

cd ~/ros2_ws/src/static_tf/

mkdir launch

touch launch/static_tf_launch.py

We can now open that static_tf_launch.py file using the Code Editor, and add the following content to it:

from launch import LaunchDescription
from launch_ros.actions import Node

def generate_launch_description():
    return LaunchDescription([
        Node(
            package="tf2_ros",
            executable="static_transform_publisher",
            output="screen" ,
            arguments=["0", "0", "0", "0", "0", "0", "odom", "laser"]
        )
    ])

Once the static_tf_launch.py file is ok, let’s now open again our setup.py file (~/ros2_ws/src/static_tf/setup.py), and add our static_tf_launch.py file to data_files, so that our launch file will be included in the install folder when we compile our workspace. By doing this we will be able to execute it:

The bit we have to add to data_files is (os.path.join(‘share’, package_name, ‘launch’), glob(‘launch/*.py’)), so that data_files looks like:

data_files=[
        ('share/ament_index/resource_index/packages',
            ['resource/' + package_name]),
        ('share/' + package_name, ['package.xml']),
        (os.path.join('share', package_name, 'launch'), glob('launch/*.py')),
    ],

Just to make sure you have everything correctly imported, the final setup.py file should look like this:

from setuptools import setup
import os
from glob import glob

package_name = 'static_tf'

setup(
    name=package_name,
    version='0.0.0',
    packages=[package_name],
    data_files=[
        ('share/ament_index/resource_index/packages',
            ['resource/' + package_name]),
        ('share/' + package_name, ['package.xml']),
        (os.path.join('share', package_name, 'launch'), glob('launch/*.py')),
    ],
    install_requires=['setuptools'],
    zip_safe=True,
    maintainer='user',
    maintainer_email='user@todo.todo',
    description='TODO: Package description',
    license='TODO: License declaration',
    tests_require=['pytest'],
    entry_points={
        'console_scripts': [
        ],
    },
)

 

Launching our ROS2 static tf publisher

Awesome. Our files are all in place. Let’s now build our ros2 workspace with:

cd ~/ros2_ws

colcon build

If everything went ok, the compilation should have raised no errors:

Starting >>> static_tf 
Finished <<< static_tf [1.03s] 

Summary: 1 package finished [1.20s]

Now let’s source our workspace again and run our launch file that runs the static tf publisher.

source ~/ros2_ws/install/setup.bash

ros2 launch static_tf  static_tf_launch.py

After launching the static_tf_launch.py file, the output should be similar to the following:

[INFO] [launch]: All log files can be found below /home/user/.ros/log/2021-11-08-23-10-55-010925-2_xterm-6136
[INFO] [launch]: Default logging verbosity is set to INFO
[INFO] [static_transform_publisher-1]: process started with pid [6138]
[static_transform_publisher-1] [INFO] [1636413056.712927342] [static_transform_publisher_uKqntZ5iDxRToFQR]: Spinning until killed publishing transform from 'odom' to 'laser'

As we can see in the logs, we have the static_transform_publisher publishing a static transform from the odom to the laser frame.

We can now go to a second terminal and check the transforms between the frames with:

ros2 run tf2_ros tf2_echo odom laser

Assuming everything went as expected, the output you should get should be similar to the following:

[INFO] [1636413489.330173729] [tf2_echo]: Waiting for transform odom ->  laser: Invalid frame ID "odom" passed to canTransform argument target_frame - frame does not exist
At time 0.0
- Translation: [0.000, 0.000, 0.000]
- Rotation: in Quaternion [0.000, 0.000, 0.000, 1.000]
At time 0.0
- Translation: [0.000, 0.000, 0.000]
- Rotation: in Quaternion [0.000, 0.000, 0.000, 1.000]
At time 0.0
- Translation: [0.000, 0.000, 0.000]
- Rotation: in Quaternion [0.000, 0.000, 0.000, 1.000]

Congratulations. You now know how to publish a static transform between two frames in ROS2 using Python.  In addition to that, you have also learned how to create a python package as well as a launch file along the way. Feel free to terminate the scripts you have executed by pressing CTRL+C in the terminals. You can also for sure spend more time using this great online platform, The Construct.

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Keep pushing your ROS Learning.

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