SLAM Quickstart

This guide provides examples of using the SLAM API for development purposes. Users can run SLAM with an OS sensor’s hostname or IP for real-time processing, or with a recorded PCAP/OSF file for offline processing.

Extract Scans and Metadata

We will demonstrate how to extract lidar scan objects and sensor’s metadata from different sources which will be served as the input of the SLAM algrotihm

from ouster import client
from ouster.pcap import Pcap
import ouster.osf as osf
from ouster.sdkx.parsing import default_scan_fields
from ouster.sdk.util import resolve_metadata
import ipaddress

def load_source(source):
    if source.endswith('.pcap'):
        metadata = open(resolve_metadata(source), "r").read()
        info = client.SensorInfo(metadata)
        pcap = Pcap(source, info)
        fields = default_scan_fields(info.format.udp_profile_lidar, flags=True)
        scans = client.Scans(pcap, fields=fields)
    elif source.endswith('.osf'):
        scans = osf.Scans(source)
        info = scans.metadata
    elif source.endswith('.local') or ipaddress.ip_address(source):
        scans =, lidar_port=LIDAR_PORT, complete=False, timeout=1)
        info = scans.metadata
        raise ValueError("Not a valid source type")

    return scans, info

Obtain Lidar Pose and Calculate Pose Difference

The SLAM API outputs the sensor’s pose for each lidar scan, which you can use to determine the sensor’s orientation in your system. From the Lidar Poses, we can calculate the Pose difference between consecutive scans

from ouster import client
from ouster.mapping.slam import KissBackend
import numpy as np
scans, info = load_source(pcap_path)
slam = KissBackend(info, max_range=75, min_range=1, voxel_size=1.0)
last_scan_pose = np.eye(4)

for idx, scan in enumerate(scans):
     scan_w_poses = slam.update(scan)
     col = client.first_valid_column(scan_w_poses)
     # scan_w_poses.pose is a list where each pose represents a column points' pose.
     # use the first valid scan's column pose as the scan pose
     scan_pose = scan_w_poses.pose[col]
     print(f"idx = {idx} and Scan Pose {scan_pose}")

     # calculate the inverse transformation of the last scan pose
     inverse_last = np.linalg.inv(last_scan_pose)
     # calculate the pose difference by matrix multiplication
     pose_diff =, scan_pose)
     # extract rotation and translation
     rotation_diff = pose_diff[:3, :3]
     translation_diff = pose_diff[:3, 3]
     print(f"idx = {idx} and Rotation Difference: {rotation_diff}, "
           f"Translation Difference: {translation_diff}")

SLAM with Visulizer and Accumulated Scans

Visualizers and Accumulated Scans are also available for monitoring the performance of the algorithm, as well as for demonstration and feedback purposes.

from functools import partial
from ouster.viz import SimpleViz, ScansAccumulator
from ouster.mapping.slam import KissBackend
scans, info = load_source(pcap_path)
slam = KissBackend(info, max_range=75, min_range=1, voxel_size=1.0)

scans_w_poses = map(partial(slam.update), scans)
scans_acc = ScansAccumulator(info,

SimpleViz(info, scans_accum=scans_acc, rate=0.0).run(scans_w_poses)

More details about the visualizer and accumulated scans can be found at the Ouster Visualizer and Scans Accumulator


The performance of the SLAM algorithm depends on your CPU’s processing power and the ‘voxel_size’ parameter. Below is a suggestion for selecting an appropriate voxel size:

Outdoor: 1.4 - 2.2
Large indoor: 1.0 - 1.8
Small indoor: 0.4 - 0.8

Intro SLAM in Ouster-CLI

We also offer a simpler method to run SLAM using the ouster-cli. For additional details, please refer to Ouster-CLI Mapping.