This paper deals with the problems encountered when unwrapping a noisy phase map obtained in connection with phase shifting speckle interferometry. Due to decorrelation of the speckle patterns obtained before and after loading the object, these phase maps are very noisy and unwrapping requires smoothing. Traditional procedures based upon averaging or median filtering in a window have some disadvantages. Averaging tends to smooth the jumps to be identified in the phase map and median filtering is very slow. A new fast-edge preserving approach is presented and compared to some traditional methods by means of evaluating their performance when filtering and unwrapping a computer-generated noisy sawtooth pattern.© (1991) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.