How to Download a ROS Package from GitHub


Let’s say you see a ROS package on GitHub that you’d like to bring into your catkin workspace.

For example, I would like to download the rviz_plugin_tutorials package available on this page on GitHub.

First, you need to download the files to your computer.

Go to this page and download all the files. I like to download it to my Desktop.

Click the green “Clone” button to download a ZIP file of the repository.

Open up the zip file, and go to the rviz_plugin_tutorials folder. The rviz_plugin_tutorials package is the package we need.

Right-click on that folder, and click “Extract”.

Move that folder to your catkin_ws/src folder. I just dragged the folder to my catkin_ws/src folder on my computer, just as I would drag and drop any folder on a Mac or Windows computer.

Open up a terminal window, and type:

cd ~/catkin_ws/src

You should see the rviz_plugin_tutorials package (i.e. a folder) in there.

Now you need to run this command so that your ROS environment knows about the rviz_plugin_tutorials package we just added. Open a new terminal window, and type:

cd ~/catkin_ws/

Open a new terminal window, and type:

rospack find rviz_plugin_tutorials

You should see the path of your new ROS package.


To see if our package depends on other packages, type these commands. Ignore any error messages you see in the terminal:

rosdep update
rosdep check rviz_plugin_tutorials

You should see a message that says “All system dependencies have been satisfied.”