3D (Legacy)

Display visualization markers and models in a 3D scene.

We recommend using the new 3D panel, as it includes performance and user experience improvements.

3d panel


By publishing specifically formatted marker messages to a topic, you can programmatically add primitive shapes (arrows, spheres, etc.) and more complex visualizations (occupancy grids, point clouds, etc.) to your 3D panel's scene.

Choose the topics you want to display via the topic picker, and configure each topic's visualization settings using the "Edit topic settings" menu.

3d panel topic-picker


To translate or rotate the placement of your markers, publish transform messages to define the spatial relationship between two coordinate frames. To successfully apply this transformation to your markers, your transform message must include its own frame_id and a child_frame_id (i.e. your markers' frame_id).

In ROS, transform interpolation works by holding a buffer of every received transform in the last 10 seconds for each coordinate frame, and transforms are always done at a point in time. If the requested time falls between two transforms for any coordinate frame(s) between the child and parent, LERP and SLERP are used for interpolation (using the marker's frame_locked attribute). To translate between two sibling frames, search for a common parent and conduct a transform from A to parent, followed by an inverse transform from parent to B. To accomplish this, all coordinate transformations must be parameterized by time, instead of always using the latest transform.

The 3D panel does handle future transform requests differently from the ROS implementation. It clamps any future time to the latest received transform timestamp. This removes a poorly documented tuning parameter and reduces user surprise when a transform can't be found because the window is slightly too old.

Supported messages

To use this panel, your data source must provide messages conforming to one of the following supported schemas.


A color in RGBA format.

ROS 1std_msgs/ColorRGBA
ROS 2std_msgs/msg/ColorRGBA


A single scan from a planar laser range-finder.

ROS 1sensor_msgs/LaserScan
ROS 2sensor_msgs/msg/LaserScan


A visualization marker (i.e. arrows, cubes, spheres, etc.) to be displayed within your scene.

ROS 1visualization_msgs/Marker
ROS 2visualization_msgs/msg/Marker

For markers with a mesh_resource field, load the mesh using the following URL types:

  • http(s)://
  • package:// (Desktop app only)
  • file:// (Desktop app only)

The mesh resource must be in one of the following file formats:

  • glTF (.glb)
  • STL (.stl)
  • COLLADA (.dae)


An array of various visualization markers to be displayed within your scene.

ROS 1visualization_msgs/MarkerArray
ROS 2visualization_msgs/msg/MarkerArray


2D grid map, with each cell representing the probability of occupancy.

ROS 1nav_msgs/OccupancyGrid
ROS 2nav_msgs/msg/OccupancyGrid


An array of timestamped poses in a named coordinate frame, denoting an object's path through space.

ROS 1nav_msgs/Path
ROS 2nav_msgs/msg/Path


A collection of N-dimensional points, which may contain additional fields with information like normals, intensity, etc.

ROS 1sensor_msgs/PointCloud2
ROS 2sensor_msgs/msg/PointCloud2


A polygon with a reference coordinate frame and timestamp.

ROS 1geometry_msgs/PolygonStamped
ROS 2geometry_msgs/msg/PolygonStamped


A timestamped pose in a named coordinate frame.

ROS 1geometry_msgs/PoseStamped
ROS 2geometry_msgs/msg/PoseStamped


An array of timestamped poses in a named coordinate frame.

ROS 1geometry_msgs/PoseArray
ROS 2geometry_msgs/msg/PoseArray

Transform message

A transform between two named coordinate frames in space.

ROS 1tf/tfMessage
ROS 1tf2_msgs/TFMessage
ROS 2tf2_msgs/msg/TFMessage


Velodyne LIDAR scan packets.

ROS 1velodyne_msgs/VelodyneScan
ROS 2velodyne_msgs/msg/VelodyneScan

URDF model

URDF robot models are loaded automatically if your data source supports parameters (i.e. a native ROS 1 or ROS 2 connection) and the /robot_description parameter is set to valid URDF XML.

Override this parameter with a custom http(s)://, package:// (desktop app only), or file:// (desktop app only) URL in the 3D panel's topic picker, under the "3D Model" entry's settings.

User interactions

Click any given marker in the scene to display its relevant details in a dialog box.

3d panel clicked marker

Clicking overlapping markers will display a context menu that lets you select a specific marker. Clicking a point in a point cloud enables you to export the point cloud message as a CSV.

You can also leverage linked variables to dynamically change the data visualized in your other panels. After clicking a marker, hover over the topic field you want to link in the corresponding dialog box (e.g. id). Follow the prompts to link that field to a variable name of your choice (e.g. $my_marker_id). Now, whenever you click another marker under that same topic, your variable will update to match the new marker's linked field value.

linked variables

For example, if you click on a visualization marker published under the /tracked_objects topic, and link its id field to $my_object_id, the $my_object_id variable will automatically be set to that visualization marker’s id field value (e.g. 1000). Now if you click another /tracked_objects marker with an id of 2000, that $my_object_id variable will automatically be updated to 2000.

This is useful if you want to, for example, plot the selected marker’s velocity – you can open a Plot panel in your layout, and add a line for /tracked_objects{id==$my_custom_id}.velocity.

The panel controls on the right can be used to do the following:

  • Set a target frame for the camera to follow – Can also toggle orientation following altogether. By default the scene will follow the center of a frame. When panning, the camera will be offset from, but stay relative to, that original frame center. If you ever get lost in a scene after panning, click "Follow" to snap the camera back to the default position.
  • Search for text in marker messages
  • Toggle between 3D and 2D views of the scene
  • Measure the distance between 2 points – Click to draw points in the scene; only possible in 2D view
  • Draw pose estimates, poses, and points, and publish them to predetermined topics – Only visible when connected to a live data source like a native ROS 1 or ROS 2, Rosbridge, or Foxglove WebSocket connection Publish markers
  • View and edit the camera state – Can also toggle the ability to sync camera positions across multiple 3D panels or to show a crosshair across all 3D panels on hover


Flatten markersEnsures that markers reference the same baseline height when rendering on a plane
Auto-text backgroundMakes text label markers easier to read within the 3D scene
Auto backgroundSets background color based on selected color scheme when toggled on, even if a custom background color is selected
Mesh rendering
Ignore COLLADA up_axisIgnores orientation metadata in COLLADA files loaded as a mesh_resource
Pose estimate topicTopic to which pose estimates drawn in the 3D scene should be published
Pose topicTopic to which poses drawn in the 3D scene should be published
Point topicTopic to which points drawn in the 3D scene should be published
X deviationX standard deviation for the covariance of pose estimates drawn by the user
Y deviationY standard deviation for the covariance of pose estimates drawn by the user
Theta deviationTheta standard deviation for the covariance of pose estimates drawn by the user


To move the camera:

  • w – Forward
  • a – Left
  • s – Backward
  • d – Right
  • z, or Scroll up – Zoom in
  • x, or Scroll down – Zoom out
  • Drag – Parallel to the ground. Will disengage “follow” mode, if enabled.
  • Right-click + drag – Pan and rotate. Dragging horizontally rotates around the world's z-axis; dragging vertically pans around the x and y axes
  • Shift + other action – Adjusts all values to be 1/10 of baseline values; allows for more precise movements and adjustments


  • t – Open topic picker
  • Esc – Close topic picker
  • Cmd + f – Search for marker text