Additional Simulation Worlds

In addtion to the default heron_world.launch file, heron_gazebo contains two additional launch files:

  • heron_lake_world.launch, which spawns Heron in an enclosed lake with small islands; and

  • spawn_heron.launch, which is intended to be included in any custom world to add a Heron simulation to it.

Heron in the lake world

To add a Heron to any of your own worlds, simply include the spawn_heron.launch file in your own world’s launch:

<include file="$(find heron_gazebo)/launch/spawn_heron.launch">
  <!-- Optionally configure the spawn position -->
  <arg name="x" value="$(arg x)"/>
  <arg name="y" value="$(arg y)"/>
  <arg name="z" value="$(arg z)"/>
  <arg name="yaw" value="$(arg yaw)"/>

Finally, Clearpath provides an additional suite of simulation environments that can be downloaded separately and used with Heron, as described below.

Clearpath Gazebo Worlds

The Clearpath Gazebo Worlds collection contains 4 different simulation worlds, representative of different environments our robots are designed to operate in:

  • Inspection World: a hilly outdoor world with water and a cave

  • Agriculture World: a flat outdoor world with a barn, fences, and solar farm

  • Office World: a flat indoor world with enclosed rooms and furniture

  • Construction World: office world, under construction with small piles of debris and partial walls

Heron is only supported in Inspection World, as this is the only environment which features water.


To download the Clearpath Gazebo Worlds, clone the repository from github into the same workspace as your Heron:

cd ~/catkin_ws/src
git clone

Before you can build the package, make sure to install dependencies. Because Clearpath Gazebo Worlds depends on all of our robots’ simulation packages, and some of these are currently only available as source code, installing dependencies with rosdep install --from-paths [...] will likely fail.

All four simulation environments need the gazebo_ros package. The Inspection World also needs the uuv_gazebo_worlds package, which can be installed by running

sudo apt-get install ros-$ROS_DISTRO-uuv-gazebo-worlds

Once the dependencies are installed, you can build the package:

cd ~/catkin_ws
source devel/setup.bash

Running the Inspection Simulation

Inspection World is a hilly, outdoor world that includes a water feature, bridge, pipeline, small cave/mine, and a small solar farm. It is intended to simulate a variety of missions, including pipeline inspection, cave/underground navigation, and localization on non-planar terrain.

Heron on the water near the bridge in the inspection world

To launch the inspection simulation, run

roslaunch cpr_inspection_gazebo inspection_world.launch platform:=heron

To customize Heron’s payload, for example to add additional sensors, you must set the environment variables described in heron_description Package. You can also extend Heron’s model by creating a custom URDF file and setting HERON_URDF_EXTRAS to point to this file’s location on your computer.

Once the simulation is running you can use rviz and other tools as described in Simulating Heron to control and monitor the robot.