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Smooths a 2D matrix using a mean filter over a user-defined rectangle. Ignores and preserves NaNs.

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Smooths 2D array data. Ignores NaN's.

function matrixOut = smooth2a(matrixIn,Nr,Nc)
This function smooths the data in matrixIn using a mean filter over a
rectangle of size (2*Nr+1)-by-(2*Nc+1). Basically, you end up replacing
element "i" by the mean of the rectange centered on "i". Any NaN
elements are ignored in the averaging. If element "i" is a NaN, then it
will be preserved as NaN in the output. At the edges of the matrix,
where you cannot build a full rectangle, as much of the rectangle that
fits on your matrix is used (similar to the default on Matlab's builtin
function "smooth").

"matrixIn": original matrix
"Nr": number of points used to smooth rows
"Nc": number of points to smooth columns. If not specified, Nc = Nr.

"matrixOut": smoothed version of original matrix


Explanation of screenshot:
The left plot is a pcolor (shading interp, axis equal) of a "jagged" 906x1024 matrix. Note that the edges have NaN values (white coloring). On the right, pcolor of output of smooth2a, with Nr = Nc = 50. NaN's are preserved, but do not affect the smoothing of adjacent elements.


Smooth2 inspired this file.

MATLAB release MATLAB 7.4 (R2007a)
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Comments and Ratings (13)
08 Jul 2015 Liem Nguyen

It works perfectly. Thank you!

15 Dec 2014 Peter

Peter (view profile)

The function works completely as advertised. Thank you.

In response to JEC PsiCom's comment from 2011 (since I stumbled across the same error)... Make sure your input matrix is of type "double". My problem was solved by casting the input as a double {eg, xs = smooth2a(double(x),1);}

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18 Oct 2013 Kiwi

Kiwi (view profile)

04 Sep 2013 Stephanie  
24 Jan 2011 JEC PsiCom

I get this error trying to run the code on a 2-D matrix of type double:

"MTIMES is not supported for one sparse input and one single input."

What does this mean?

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02 Jan 2011 Nikola Toljic


07 Dec 2010 Mark Novak

Thank you... this is perfectly implemented.

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23 Aug 2010 Jakob

Jakob (view profile)

I experienced vertical and horizontal jumps when using the smooth2 procedure and spent quite a while tracking down something better when I stumbled across the list of work the smooth2 had inspired (yours being one of them). smooth2a completely resolved the issue. I thank you for this!

17 Aug 2010 Wuxing Gan

very useful, I specially like its way to handle the NaN points.

21 Jun 2010 Nathan

Nathan (view profile)

Very slick code. Runs fast. Works Great!

20 Mar 2009 Carlos Adrian Vargas Aguilera

Nice code, my codes moving_average.m and ndnanfilter.m do similar jobs but are written very different! Regards...

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17 Mar 2009 Adriano Azzarone

This function is what I have searched for months.
It's working great!!
My best congrats

17 Mar 2009 Adriano Azzarone  

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