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Apr 18, 2016


Place categorization and semantic mapping on a mobile robot

Sunderhauf, Niko, Dayoub, Feras, McMahon, Sean, Talbot, Ben, Schulz, Ruth, Corke, Peter, Wyeth, Gordon, Upcroft, Ben, & Milford, Michael (2016) Place categorization and semantic mapping on a mobile robot. In Proceedings of the International Conference on Robotics and Automation, IEEE, Stockholm, Sweden.

@inproceedings{95288, booktitle = {IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA 2016)}, month = {May}, title = {Place categorization and semantic mapping on a mobile robot}, author = {Niko Sunderhauf and Feras Dayoub and Sean McMahon and Ben Talbot and Ruth Schulz and Peter Corke and Gordon Wyeth and Ben Upcroft and Michael Milford}, address = {Stockholm, Sweden}, publisher = {IEEE}, year = {2016} }


In this paper we focus on the challenging problem of place categorization and semantic mapping on a robot with-out environment-specific training. Motivated by their ongoing success in various visual recognition tasks, we build our system upon a state-of-the-art convolutional network. We overcome its closed-set limitations by complementing the network with a series of one-vs-all classifiers that can learn to recognize new semantic classes online. Prior domain knowledge is incorporated by embedding the classification system into a Bayesian filter framework that also ensures temporal coherence. We evaluate the classification accuracy of the system on a robot that maps a variety of places on our campus in real-time. We show how semantic information can boost robotic object detection performance and how the semantic map can be used to modulate the robot’s behaviour during navigation tasks. The system is made available to the community as a ROS module.

rosbag files and network model available here

#How to use:

  • git clone
  • cd ..
  • catkin_make
  • rosdep install semantic_mapper (if missing packages)
  • download the MIT deep network from
  • Select the following files and download them as zipfile: (places.caffemodel,mean.npy,deploy.prototxt,categoryIndex_places205.csv,my_cats.txt)
  • Check categoryIndex_places205.csv and pick the semantic labels you are interested in. Fill the file my_cats.txt (it is pre-filled with 11 labels keep them or delete and add yours)
  • Extract the files and fix the paths in the following launch file: semantic_label_publisher/launch/default.launch
  • Download a test bagfile from
  • Select office.bag and download it.
  • to run the system, launch the following: roslaunch semantic_mapper run_system_amcl_office.launch
  • Play the bagfile you downloaded: rosbag play office.bag
  • Check the topics available: rostopic list
  • Note the pointcloud semantic_mapper/cloud
  • rosrun rviz rviz
  • in rviz display: map, odom, semantic_mapper/cloud
  • call the following service to get a semantic map that code the probability distribution of a place over a covered area: rosservice call /semantic_mapper_node/get_semantic_map "label_id: x" replace x by a number between 1 to 11 to select which label you want from my_cats.txt file (of course different list in my_cats.txt will means different x range)
  • Display the served map (/oneLabel_cloud) in rvis
  • Also check the topic semantic_label
  • The image /sem_label_image display the probability distribution over all place labels in the current view.


Place Categorization and Semantic Mapping on a Mobile Robot




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