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Robotic mapping is the process of automatically constructing an environment representation using mobile robots. We address the problem of semantic mapping, which consists of using mobile robots to create maps that represent not only metric occupancy but also other properties of the environment. Specifically, we develop techniques to build maps that represent activity and navigability of the environment. Our approach to semantic mapping is to combine machine learning techniques with standard mapping algorithms. Supervised learning methods are used to automatically associate properties of space to the desired classification patterns. We present two methods, the first based on hidden Markov models and the second on support vector machines. Both approaches have been tested and experimentally validated in two problem domains: terrain mapping and activity-based mapping.
Date of Publication: April 2008