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This article investigates the problem of Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (SLAM) from the perspective of linear estimation theory. The problem is first formulated in terms of graph embedding: a graph describing robot poses at subsequent instants of time needs be embedded in a three-dimensional space, assuring that the estimated configuration maximizes measurement likelihood. Combining tools belonging to linear estimation and graph theory, a closed-form approximation to the full SLAM problem is proposed, under the assumption that the relative position and the relative orientation measurements are independent. The approach needs no initial guess for optimization and is formally proven to admit solution under the SLAM setup. The resulting estimate can be used as an approximation of the actual nonlinear solution or can be further refined by using it as an initial guess for nonlinear optimization techniques. Finally, the experimental analysis demonstrates that such refinement is often unnecessary, since the linear estimate is already accurate.