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I am trying use the frontier_exploration node as documented on the ros wiki (note: I had a link to the wiki but couldn't post due to a lack of karma points). I have set everything up as per the instructions and have enabled visualization with a marker display in rviz. The wiki then say to:

use the "Click Point" tool to mark the exploration boundary.

It is at this point that I have come unstuck. It feels like a stupid question but I can't seem to find any documentation telling me how to select these points. The RViz User Guide doesn't seem to say anything on the matter. The closest that I can see is that it says that the Select tool supports single-point selection, but doesn't seem to offer any hint on how to use it. In any case it is not that clear that the Select tool is the right one.

The other rviz tools that I have are: Interact, Move Camera, Select, Focus Camera, Measure, 2D Pose Estimation, 2D Nav Goal, and Publish Point. I have tried various mouse clicking combinations with all these tools but nothing seems to do what I want. Maybe there some extra plugin package that I need to have installed?

In short, can anyone point me to instructions on how to set the frontier exploration boundary in rviz?

Originally posted by DaveR on ROS Answers with karma: 126 on 2014-06-25

Post score: 4


1 Answer 1


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To answer my own question...

You need to use the "Publish Point" tool to define the points in the polygon. This tool publishes on the /clicked_point topic. The display of these points, connected as a polygon, is via the "Marker" display that is subscribing to the /exploration_polygon_marker topic. Once the polygon loop has been closed, then it is necessary to also select a point within the polygon from which to start the exploration. Only then will the exploration start.

The explore_client node actually generates messages that are printed to the ROS log to first ask the user to define the polygon and then to ask for a point within the polygon. However, because my setup was generating lots of ROS warning messages (for an unrelated matter) I was missing these instructions.

Originally posted by DaveR with karma: 126 on 2014-06-27

This answer was ACCEPTED on the original site

Post score: 7

Original comments

Comment by paulbovbel on 2014-07-29:
I updated the wiki to prevent similar frustrations for other people, thanks a lot for providing feedback!

Comment by charkoteow on 2014-08-28:
what do you mean by "select a point within the polygon" ? stuck here

Comment by paulbovbel on 2014-08-29:
After you select the polygon boundary, you will be asked to select a point inside the boundary, which will be the starting-off point for the exploration task.

Comment by charkoteow on 2014-09-02:
I figure that would be it but im clicking points inside the polygon boundary and nothing is happening. do i use the interact tool? select tool?

edit: need to use the publish point tool again to select a point. new errors are coming out on the terminal but nothing related to frontier_exploration. ty

Comment by AlexR on 2014-12-03:
I have the same problem. I am able to send the explore command using the publish points inside the polygon. Isn't there a simple method just to draw a rectangle since clicking and publishing points every time is really cumbersome.

Comment by paulbovbel on 2014-12-04:
Clicking on points is the only 'built in' way to draw a rectangle in rviz. Any improvements/constructive ideas are appreciated, please open issue/pull on the repo.


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