This paper is an expansion of our SPM 2006 paper.
Many applications require the extraction of isolines and isosurfaces from scalar functions defined on regular grids. These scalar functions may have many different origins: from MRI and CT scan data to terrain data or results of a simulation. As a result of noise and other artifacts, curves and surfaces obtained by standard extraction algorithms often suffer from topological irregularities and geometric noise.
While it is possible to remove topological and geometric noise as a post-processing step, in the case when a large number of isolines are of interest there is a considerable advantage in filtering the scalar function directly. While most smoothing filters result in gradual simplification of the topological structure of contours, new topological features typically emerge and disappear during the smoothing process.
In this paper, we describe an algorithm for filtering functions defined on regular 2D grids with controlled topology changes, which ensures that the topological structure of the set of contour lines of the function is progressively simplified.