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The multi-view plus depth video (MVD) format has recently been introduced for 3DTV and free-viewpoint video (FVV) scene rendering. Given one view (or several views) with its depth information, depth image-based rendering techniques have the ability to generate intermediate views. The MVD format however generates large volumes of data which need to be compressed for storage and transmission. This paper describes a new depth map encoding algorithm which aims at exploiting the intrinsic depth maps properties. Depth images indeed represent the scene surface and are characterized by areas of smoothly varying grey levels separated by sharp edges at the position of object boundaries. Preserving these characteristics is important to enable high quality view rendering at the receiver side. The proposed algorithm proceeds in three steps: the edges at object boundaries are first detected using a Sobel operator. The positions of the edges are encoded using the JBIG algorithm. The luminance values of the pixels along the edges are then encoded using an optimized path encoder. The decoder runs a fast diffusion-based inpainting algorithm which fills in the unknown pixels within the objects by starting from their boundaries. The performance of the algorithm is assessed against JPEG-2000 and HEVC, both in terms of PSNR of the depth maps versus rate as well as in terms of PSNR of the synthesized virtual views.