3D Mapping is Here

It's just about 2 years since Willow Garage ran the ROS 3D contest to see what the community could come up with for Kinect/OpenNI applications. The full results are here. The winner in the "most useful" category was a 3D SLAM application called RGBDSLAM. I remember trying to get it running, I eventually did, but it was not easy.

Just this past week I saw a post from the guys over at CCNY, showing off their new visual odometry and keyframe (offiline) mapping system. I decided to give it a try... and it worked out of the box no problem. Here's a video CCNY posted:

A few days later I came across a video (and code with ROS wrappers) from IntRoLab at Sherbrooke:

I also have noticed that RGBDSLAM is still getting updates and documentation revisions, so it is still getting active improvements.

I'm thinking it would be really cool to put together an application that turn these 3d maps into 2d maps usable by the ROS navigation stack. Robots like TurtleBot can typically localize against a map with just their Kinect-like sensor, but building maps has traditionally been tough due to the lack of features visible in a 57-degree wide "fake-laserscan".

This is really awesome stuff for the robotics community -- we have at least 3 different 3D mapping applications released into the ROS ecosphere. Are there more out there that anyone knows of? If you've used these apps, feel free to comment!