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Urban Robotics Extends Octree Format to PCL Open Source Community

Urban Robotics Inc., a leading provider of three-dimensional (3D) imaging sensors, software and algorithms, today announced it is making its highly scalable, spatially searchable and colorized 3D octree-based point cloud format available to the Point Cloud Library (PCL) community.

Willow Garage launched PCL in March 2011, to help accelerate 3D algorithmic work related to robotic applications. It is free for research and commercial use. The addition of Urban Robotics's software code to PCL lays the foundation for the creation of a standardized format for large-scale 3D applications. An example of such large-scale dataset representing a reconstruction of Mount St. Helens is shown in the video below.

Urban Robotics developed its octree-based format to efficiently store and manage point cloud data, and to address challenges related to the rapid processing of massive 3D images during daily operations.

"The main challenge with supported LAS and XYZ point cloud file formats is that…

Mapping with Octree structures

Kai Wurm from the University of Freiburg (Germany) recently visited Willow Garage. During his stay, he worked on integrating the 3D mapping library OctoMap into the ROS and PCL frameworks. To provide real-time 3D maps of the workspace of the PR2 robot, the runtime and memory requirements of OctoMap were substantially reduced. To make OctoMap more attractive for mobile manipulation, he also investigated the use of collections of multi-resolution maps to model movable objects at millimeter resolution.

For more technical information, please see the slides below (download PDF). For more information on using OctoMap with ROS, please see octomap_mapping.