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getting urdf_tutorials to work in groovy with ubuntu 12.04

This should be pretty straight forward but unfortunately the package is broken. Groovy is supposed to use .rviz configuration files for rviz instead of the older .vcg files. The urdf_tutorials were never properly tested or groovy changed sometime after urdf_tutorials were released.

dpkg-query -W ros-groovy-robot-model-tutorials
ros-groovy-robot-model-tutorials 0.1.2-s1374436389~precise

dpkg-query -L ros-groovy-robot-model-tutorials
...bunches of files
...bunches of files .rviz file

The best way I have found around this is to grab the latest urdf_tutorials source from git and use everything else stock as installed from the repos. This is called workspace overlay, setup here.

mkdir -p ~/overlay_ws/src
cd ~/overlay_ws/src
git clone git://
git clone git://
cd ~/overlay_ws/
source ~/overlay_ws/devel/setup.bash
echo "source ~/overlay_ws/devel/setup.bash" >> ~/.bashrc
roscd urdf_tutorials
# should be ~/overlay_ws/src/urdf_tutorial
cd ~/overlay_ws/src/urdf_tutorial/urdf_tutorial
roslaunch urdf_tutorial display.launch model:=06-flexible.urdf gui:=True

now rviz should pop up. When it used to work out of the box the robot would be visible. For me this did not happen.


I had to click add in the lower left


select the robot model and click ok


now I can see the robot, but the gripper is not there and the robot appears to be below the origin. so there are still errors


you can use the joint state publisher to interact with the model.

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