I'm given an $n\times n$ grid of positive integer values. These numbers represent an intensity that should correspond to the strength of belief of a person occupying that grid location (a higher value indicating a higher belief). A person will in general have an influence over multiple grid cells.
I believe that the pattern of intensities should "look Gaussian" in that there will be a central location of high intensity, and then the intensities taper off radially in all directions. Specifically, I'd like to model the values as coming from a "scaled Gaussian" with a parameter for the variance and another for the scale factor.
There are two complicating factors:
- the absence of a person will not correspond to a zero value, because of background noise and other effects, but the values should be smaller. They can be erratic though, and at a first approximation might be difficult to model as simple Gaussian noise.
- The intensity range can vary. For one instance, the values might range between 1 and 10, and in another, between 1 and 100.
I'm looking for an appropriate parameter estimation strategy, or pointers to relevant literature. Pointers to why I'm approaching this problem the wrong way altogether would also be appreciated :). I've been reading about kriging, and Gaussian processes, but that seems like very heavy machinery for my problem.