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Is there a difference in performance between heightmaps and mesh geometry?

asked 2021-06-07 11:30:33 -0500

shonigmann gravatar image

Is there a difference in computational efficiency/performance between loading a heightmap in Gazebo vs. loading an equivalent static mesh as the visual and collision elements of a model?

It seems that meshes generated when gazebo loads a heightmap are cached, which I don't think is the case for standard geometry(?), so that would at least seem to indicate that heightmaps might be preferable when sticking with a single terrain model. But are there any other differences in how they are used under the hood?

In particular, I'm interested:

  • once spawned in gazebo, heightmaps appear to be converted into meshes; are there any difference between how the meshes are used?
  • if heightmaps perform better for larger/higher resolution terrains during the simulation? while loading the simulation environment?
  • and if either would be preferable when simulating a large number of randomly generated terrains (e.g. where each run of a simulation has a different terrain loaded)?


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answered 2021-06-09 04:40:24 -0500

Veerachart gravatar image

On my experience with heightmap quite some time ago (on gazebo 9) I think the collision I got was not that smooth. There seem to be some "holes" between the grid of the heightmap, so if you try rolling a sphere on it, it would look a bit bumpy or it might go a bit below the surface. Not sure how much have been improved from then.

If you want some randomization in the surface the heightmap sounds like a good choice since randomly generating a mesh is probably harder to do. However I think cache would not be meaningful for that.

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Asked: 2021-06-07 11:30:33 -0500

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Last updated: Jun 09 '21