How to Operate Robot Operating System (ROS)


Operating ROS on your Linux can sometimes be a lot to begin with. This is a quick reminder as a tutorial in order to remind you how to operate ROS on your Terminal in Linux

IP Addresses

First off, you need to figure out what is the IP Address of your robot, whenever trying to connect wirelessly. This will allow you to get the number which you will use it to connect to the robot later on, and vice-versa. To find it,

  1. Connect robot to a keyboard
  2. Connect robot to a display

Now, in the Terminal of your Burger Robot, type in

[TurtleBot External]
$ ifconfig

Under the section wlanO, you will see the IP Address in inet addr:

[TurtleBot External]
$ ifconfig
inet addr:

Things to know about IP Address

  • Your IP Address may change every time you log into a different network, or if you restart your computer
    • The IP Address of your robot may change every time you turn it on/off. However, it can sometimes stay the same for weeks. Therefore, it’s always good to double-check the IP of your robot

Now, in your computer, you need to get your own IP address. Repeating the same process as before, run ifconfig, but this time, it will be under the section wlp7s0

[Terminal 1]
$ ifconfig
wlp7s0 inet addr:

So by now, we have two IP addresses!

  1. Computer’s IP Address:}
  2. Robots’s IP Address:

Save these. We’ll need them for the next part!

Starting Up ROS Core

Alright! Now, we have files that act as “Settings File” for your computer and for your robot: bashrc. We need to edit them to say which IP Addresses we want to use! For here, we can either use gedit or nano to edit these bad boys.

In your own computer’s Terminal, enter the following

[Terminal 1]
$ gedit ~/.bashrc

This will open a gedit window! (Gedit is essentially a text editor!) When you scroll down down down, you’ll see two lines, where you should be putting your PC’s IP Address. In the ROS_MASTER_URI, leave the last numbers alone (e.g. :11311. In the end, you’ll have


To make these changes effective, you NEED to source that file!

[Terminal 1]
$ source ~/.bashrc

Before we get to the juicy part, you need to start up ROS Core. You can think of this as initializing a platform where you can build ROS-related thing on!

[Terminal 1]
$ cd ~/catkin_ws
$ roscore

Now, Terminal 1 will have to remain open and untouched to keep running ROS Core!
Yay! Now we have ROS Core running, and now we can start to activate things!

Connect to Robot

Now it’s time to connect your computer to the robot! To do so, we first need to set up your Turtlebot to be able to talk to your computer! By the end of this, you’ll be able to control your robot from your computer

Open up a new Terminal, and put the following command with your Turtlebot’s IP Address

[Terminal 2]
$ ssh [email protected]}

Here, it will ask if you’re sure you want to connect (Say Yes y), and it may ask for the password. The password is burger. Once this step is done, the name of the Terminal windown will no longer be the [Terminal 2], but this time, it will be a variant of [email protected]. We’ll call it [TurtleBot] from now on.

Then, now we gotta edit the bashrc file once again!

[TurtleBot 1]
$ sudo nano ~/.bashrc

In the \texttt{bashrc} file, edit the lines such that the ROS_MASTER_URI is your PC's IP Address, and the ROS_HOSTNAME is the Robot's IP Address


Once again, you need to source your file in order to make the effects!

[TurtleBot 1]  
$ source ~/.bashrc

Now you should be able to run operations on your robot from your computer!

Bring Up

Now, in order for you to send commands to your robot, you need to wake it up! The term used for this case is bring up!
To bring up your robot, run the following command from a remote terminal:

[TurtleBot 1]
$ roslaunch turtlebot3_bringup turtlebo#    t3_robot.launch#


One thing you can do is to control the robot by using your keyboard, a Wiimote, an Xbox360 controller, or a PS4 controller! Here we’ll cover how to get to use your keyboard to operate your TurtleBot

After you’ve brought up your robot, you can run the following command. First make sure to source it

[Terminal 2]
$ source ~/catkin_ws/devel/setup.bash

Then run the command

[Terminal 2]  
$ roslaunch turtlebot3_teleop turtlebot3_#  teleop_key.launch#


You can often times want to use the camera. Here is how you can turn on your camera, and how to set it up.

$ cd ~/catkin_ws/src/raspicam_node#  
$ cd ~/src/launch#  
$ ls#  

From here, if you want to create a new setting, you can use touch# and edit with nano#

$ touch newfilename.launch
$ sudo nano newfile.launch

Here you can set your settings to different resolution and frame rates. Finally to start the camera,

	\verb@$ roslaunch raspicam_node newfile.launch @

Create a New Package

Often times, when creating a new project, you might need to create a new package! Sometimes, that package might have some dependencies! To create a new package that has dependencies (e.g. dep1 dep2 dep3

$ catkin_create_pkg package_name dep1 dep2 dep3}

Nodes and Topics

Alright! Usually you’ll want to get information from the robot, send information back to the robot, etc. With that, you’ll nodes and topics.

{Nodes} are the “centers” where operations happen. They acquire values (e.g. distance from sensor) and hold on to them! - Topics are the medium/messages that send those variables through.

You will need these commands in order to know what to pull out the topics. To get information about a topic, you run the command

$ rostopic info topic\_name  
Type: /topic

From here, it says that your Package Name is package_name and your Topic Name is topic. This information allows you to move forward to get the type of variables that you’ll pull out later. To show the information about that topic, you run the following command

$ rosmsg show package_name/topic

And this will list you a lot of information about your topic. You’ll then need to figure out what and how to pull out of this topic

### Example As an example, if you are interested in the odometry of your robot,

$ rostopic info #

Press Tab + Tab

$ rostopic info #  
$ rostopic info odom  
Type: nav_msgs/Odometry

Here, your package that is being used is $nav_msgs$. So to get info about the topic Odometry in the package nav_msgs, you write the following, and it will show a lot of lines.

$ rosmsg show nav_msgs/Odometry

In this case, this field is more or less organized as
%\begin{center} %\begin{tabular}{|c|} % \hline % Pose
% \hline %\end{tabular} %\end{center}

msgs \begin{itemize}[noitemsep,nolistsep] \item pose \begin{itemize}[noitemsep,nolistsep] \item pose\begin{itemize}[noitemsep,nolistsep] \item position \begin{itemize}[noitemsep,nolistsep] \item x \item y \item z \end{itemize} \end{itemize} \end{itemize} \end{itemize}

Now, you’ll have to store pose.pose.position.x if you want the x position, and pose.pose.position.y if you want the y position.

Saving and Running Scripts

You have the option to either write scripts in C++ or in Python. You will then save the .py or .cpp files in the \texttt{package_name/src/} folder and on Terminal, you can run, when in the directory


$ chmod +x  
$ python
$ python3   

Running Simulation

To run a simulation, you might need to do a couple of extra steps.

Main Steps

You might need to install some dependent packages for TurtleBot3 Simulation, which could be accomplished with

$ cd ~/catkin_ws/src
$ git clone
$ cd ~/catkin_ws && catkin_make

First off, the first thing you’ll need is to type

$ export TURTLEBOT3_MODEL=burger#  

on every Terminal you open OR you can put that into your ~/.bashrc file. The file .bashrc always opens on boot up, so by putting it into the .bashrc file allows you not to have to repeat it everytime.

Second, but very important is that you will need to source the following file:

$ source ~/catkin_ws/devel/setup.bash#

This step is really important, and you will need to repeat it with every new Terminal. Finally, you can run some simulations. Here are some examples

$ roslaunch turtlebot3_fake turtlebot3_fake.launch
roslaunch turtlebot3_gazebo turtlebot3_empty_world.launch
$ roslaunch turtlebot3_gazebo turtlebot3_world.launch


When running it, there’s a chance you may get errors like exit code 255. To solve this, you might have to kill some background processes that were still running

$ killall gzserver#
$ killall gzclient#