I have n Cartesian points P(x,y). I would like to draw a curve through those points so that I can project it, compute tangents to it, etc.
In practice, 30 < n < 500, or thereabouts. My values for x and y are all integers and won't lie exactly on the ideal curve. The curves I've got generally look to me like arcs from parabolas. The parabolas can have any orientation, so we are dealing with the general case, not merely specific cases where the directrix is x=c or y=c.
I have very little clue how to do this. I could probably manage to best fit a quadratic in the case where the directrix is y=c - this is an algorithm I'd find in a text book - but as I explained above, the directrix will have gradient<>0. I could rotate the parabolas into this orientation but the problem with that is I don't know what angle to rotate them through until I have an equation, so it doesn't help.
The application is computer vision.
I suspect the answer is probably more complex than can realistically be posted here so perhaps a reference to an existing work could be given?
If it simplifies matters to say the curve isn't a parabola but something similar then that will do; this is an engineering question, after all!