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If you do not want to have your model in two different places like @hsu said (GAZEBO_MODEL_PATH and ROS_PACKAGE_PATH) then what you can do is edit the launch file for your model's package, and after the <launch> tag, but before you run any gazebo related stuff, insert an <env> tag which will allow you to temporarily set that environment variable, without changing across your entire system.

Here would be an example:


  <env name="GAZEBO_MODEL_PATH" value="$(find surus_sim)"/>

  <param name="robot_description" textfile="$(find surus_sim)/robots/surus_sim.sdf" />
    args="-sdf -param robot_description -model surus_sim"

and then in your SDF (and i believe this would work for URDF too) you specify the path of your mesh(s) relative to the value specified in the <env> tag.

        <scale>1 1 1</scale>