# Fitting an ellipse to point data

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Some time ago I wrote an R function to fit an ellipse to point data, using an algorithm developed by Radim Halíř and Jan Flusser**Last Resort Software**, and kindly contributed to R-bloggers]. (You can report issue about the content on this page here)Want to share your content on R-bloggers? click here if you have a blog, or here if you don't.

^{1}in Matlab, and posted it to the r-help list. The implementation was a bit hacky, returning odd results for some data.

A couple of days ago, an email arrived from John Minter asking for a pointer to the original code. I replied with a link and mentioned that I’d be interested to know if John made any improvements to the code. About ten minutes later, John emailed again with a much improved version ! Not only is it more reliable, but also more efficient. So with many thanks to John, here is the improved code:

fit.ellipse <- function (x, y = NULL) { # from: # http://r.789695.n4.nabble.com/Fitting-a-half-ellipse-curve-tp2719037p2720560.html # # Least squares fitting of an ellipse to point data # using the algorithm described in: # Radim Halir & Jan Flusser. 1998. # Numerically stable direct least squares fitting of ellipses. # Proceedings of the 6th International Conference in Central Europe # on Computer Graphics and Visualization. WSCG '98, p. 125-132 # # Adapted from the original Matlab code by Michael Bedward (2010) # [email protected] # # Subsequently improved by John Minter (2012) # # Arguments: # x, y - x and y coordinates of the data points. # If a single arg is provided it is assumed to be a # two column matrix. # # Returns a list with the following elements: # # coef - coefficients of the ellipse as described by the general # quadratic: ax^2 + bxy + cy^2 + dx + ey + f = 0 # # center - center x and y # # major - major semi-axis length # # minor - minor semi-axis length # EPS <- 1.0e-8 dat <- xy.coords(x, y) D1 <- cbind(dat$x * dat$x, dat$x * dat$y, dat$y * dat$y) D2 <- cbind(dat$x, dat$y, 1) S1 <- t(D1) %*% D1 S2 <- t(D1) %*% D2 S3 <- t(D2) %*% D2 T <- -solve(S3) %*% t(S2) M <- S1 + S2 %*% T M <- rbind(M[3,] / 2, -M[2,], M[1,] / 2) evec <- eigen(M)$vec cond <- 4 * evec[1,] * evec[3,] - evec[2,]^2 a1 <- evec[, which(cond > 0)] f <- c(a1, T %*% a1) names(f) <- letters[1:6] # calculate the center and lengths of the semi-axes # # see http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2288654/ # J. R. Minter # for the center, linear algebra to the rescue # center is the solution to the pair of equations # 2ax + by + d = 0 # bx + 2cy + e = 0 # or # | 2a b | |x| |-d| # | b 2c | * |y| = |-e| # or # A x = b # or # x = Ainv b # or # x = solve(A) %*% b A <- matrix(c(2*f[1], f[2], f[2], 2*f[3]), nrow=2, ncol=2, byrow=T ) b <- matrix(c(-f[4], -f[5]), nrow=2, ncol=1, byrow=T) soln <- solve(A) %*% b b2 <- f[2]^2 / 4 center <- c(soln[1], soln[2]) names(center) <- c("x", "y") num <- 2 * (f[1] * f[5]^2 / 4 + f[3] * f[4]^2 / 4 + f[6] * b2 - f[2]*f[4]*f[5]/4 - f[1]*f[3]*f[6]) den1 <- (b2 - f[1]*f[3]) den2 <- sqrt((f[1] - f[3])^2 + 4*b2) den3 <- f[1] + f[3] semi.axes <- sqrt(c( num / (den1 * (den2 - den3)), num / (den1 * (-den2 - den3)) )) # calculate the angle of rotation term <- (f[1] - f[3]) / f[2] angle <- atan(1 / term) / 2 list(coef=f, center = center, major = max(semi.axes), minor = min(semi.axes), angle = unname(angle)) }Next here is a utility function which takes a fitted ellipse and returns a matrix of vertices for plotting:

get.ellipse <- function( fit, n=360 ) { # Calculate points on an ellipse described by # the fit argument as returned by fit.ellipse # # n is the number of points to render tt <- seq(0, 2*pi, length=n) sa <- sin(fit$angle) ca <- cos(fit$angle) ct <- cos(tt) st <- sin(tt) x <- fit$center[1] + fit$maj * ct * ca - fit$min * st * sa y <- fit$center[2] + fit$maj * ct * sa + fit$min * st * ca cbind(x=x, y=y) }And finally, some demo code from John:

create.test.ellipse <- function(Rx=300, # X-radius Ry=200, # Y-radius Cx=250, # X-center Cy=150, # Y-center Rotation=0.4, # Radians NoiseLevel=0.5) # Gaussian Noise level { set.seed(42) t <- seq(0, 100, by=1) x <- Rx * cos(t) y <- Ry * sin(t) nx <- x*cos(Rotation)-y*sin(Rotation) + Cx nx <- nx + rnorm(length(t))*NoiseLevel ny <- x*sin(Rotation)+y*cos(Rotation) + Cy ny <- ny + rnorm(length(t))*NoiseLevel cbind(x=nx, y=ny) } X <- create.test.ellipse() efit <- fit.ellipse(X) e <- get.ellipse(efit) plot(X) lines(e, col="red") print(efit)

^{1}Halíř R., Flusser J.: Numerically stable direct least squares fitting of ellipses. In: Proceedings of the 6th International Conference in Central Europe on Computer Graphics and Visualization. WSCG '98. CZ, Plzeň 1998, pp. 125-132. (postscript file)

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