ROS Parameter Server

Configuration information in ROS is usually saved to the Parameter server. The Parameter sever is a collection of values that can be accessed upon request through the command prompt, nodes or launch files. Parameters are intended to be fairly static, globally available values such as integers, floats, strings or bool values.

Parameters From the Terminal

Parameters can be can be viewed and changed directly from a terminal using various rosparam commands. The simplest command lists all of the currently active parameters.

rosparam list

With a Husky gazebo simulation running, the following is an example of the output of rosparam list and gives us a good idea the type of values that are best suited for the parameter server.

The rosparam get command can be used to determine the value of a parameter.

rosparam get

For example, we can see that gravity in the z direction in Gazebo is set to -9.8, and we are currently running ROS kinetic.

It is also possible to change a parameter using rosparam set

rosparam set

Say we wanted to simulate Husky driving on the moon, then we could change the gravity parameter is gazebo very easily

rosparam set /gazebo/gravit_z -1.6

Accessing Parameters from Nodes

It is often the case that your nodes will have to access the parameter server during start up to retrieve configuration information, or set a parameter value. This can be done quite easily in both C++ or Python, to set a parameter use:


void:ros::param::set(parameter_name, input_value)


rospy.param_set(parameter_name, input_value)

Similarly, to retrieve a parameter value from the parameter server





Accessing Parameter from Launch Files

The final source where you may need to access the parameter server is from a launch file. Setting a parameter value during a launch file is common practice to conveniently initialize parameters on start up. This can be done in your launch file using

<param name="param-name" value="param-value" />

You may also use YMAL format along with the parameter tags, which is an easy to read 1 to 1 format for setting parameter

string: 'foo'
integer: 1234
float: 1234.5
boolean: true
list: [1.0, mixed list]
dictionary: {a: b, c: d}