Cartographer is a backpack that uses SLAM to build maps of the world in real time. The operator can annotate the map on the fly as they explore and then the results wind up on Google Maps. While the pack may be funny looking, we still love it.
The backpack has a desktop-class computer, a couple multi-echo laser scanners (30m range and 270° FOV), and an IMU. The map is displayed and annotated on an Android tablet.
Here's one of the first maps we launched:
Some of the system is built on ROS and my previous work on rosjava. Using ROS has been invaluable, especially during the prototyping stage. Our SLAM stack, however, is all home grown to meet the demands of robust, real time mapping on a fast moving, unstable platform (i.e. the operator's back).