One of the features of our TrafficMining Project at the LMU was to use additional attributes in routing queries. Standart routing queries usually just use time and distance for calculating the fastest/shortest routes. In order to have an additional attribute we decided to use evelation data as this might be an issue if you also want to take fuel cost into account or if you’re planning a bike tour (instead of crossing a hill, you might want to consider a longer tour that avoids crossing the hill).
The problem just was that data nodes from OpenStreetMap are defined mostly by id, latitude and longitude, which is totally enough for painting 2D maps and standard routing queries. As the elevation is not added to OpenStreetMap data directly (and it is also not intended to be added to the OSM data base), a component was needed that parses both Nasa SRTM data as well as OSM data files in order to combine the data.
In the first version, we parsed the SRTM data directly and addied it to the nodes of the OSM-Graph directly. During one refactoring, we decided to integtrate Osmosis into the project in order to be able to read PBF files (another OpenStreetMap file format). During this integration we decided to separate the SRTM parsing into a separate module so that other people can make use of it as well. The plugin was open sourced some time ago at google code as the “osmosis-srtm-plugin” under an LGPL licence.