A local histogram-data-orientated filtering algorithm is proposed to remove noise from the deformation phase map obtained by a phase stepping electronic speckle pattern interferometry (ESPI). The proposed filter can successfully eliminate any speckle-generated residues of a real dislocation free map. Since the filtered result is totally free from any phase inconsistency, a simple unwrapping rule, like Macy’s method, can be applied for the correct phase retrieval. The motivation and theory of the proposed method is described. A simulated noisy wrapped map is employed to detail its implementation. An intercomparison of the present study and two well-known methods is performed to present the performance of the proposed method. In addition, several ESPI experiments are conducted to provide successful filtering of practical phase maps and to prove the effectiveness of the proposed method. © 2005 Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers.