Forget about your kids waking up in middle of the night on Christmas eve and tiptoeing to the fireplace to catch a glimpse of Santa tunneling in through the chimney with a sackful of presents! This is the age of the internet and web 2.0 and satellite imagery. Therefore Santa’s whereabouts can be tracked in real time via NORAD’s (North American Aerospace Defense Command) Santa Tracker website and in seven languages to boot. If you’re a parent this is a must have tool on Christmas eve. Not only is it fun for the kids but it also reinforces the “idea” of Santa Claus for those who are sitting on the fence so to speak.
The site uses Google Earth’s satellite imagery and Santa can be followed as he makes his journey around the planet to deliver Christmas presents. If you’re wondering why NORAD, a U.S. and Canadian military organization charged with monitoring North American air space, follows Santa Claus on his global travels? According to the Associated Press …
AP: NORAD’s holiday tradition can by traced to 1955, when a Colorado Springs newspaper printed a Sears, Roebuck & Co. ad telling children of a phone number to talk to Santa. The number was one digit off, and the first child to get through reached the Continental Air Defense Command, NORAD’s predecessor.
Col. Harry W. Shoup answered.
Shoup’s daughter, Terri Van Keuren, said her dad, now 91, was surprised to hear that the little voice on the other end thought he was Santa.
“Dad thought, `What the heck? This must be some kind of code,’” said Van Keuren, 59.
Shoup, described by his daughter as “just a nut about Christmas,” didn’t want to break the boy’s heart, so he sounded a booming “Ho, ho, ho!” and pretended to be Santa Claus.
Enough calls followed that Shoup assigned an officer to answer them while the problem was fixed. But Shoup and the staff he was directing to “locate” Santa on radar ended up embracing the idea. NORAD picked up the tradition when it was formed 50 years ago.
“If we didn’t do it, truly I don’t know who else would track Santa,” Maj. Stacia Reddish said.
The task that began with no computers and only a 60-by-80-foot glass map of North America now includes two big screens on a wall showing the world and information on each country Santa Claus visits. It took off with the Web site’s 1997 launch, Reddish said.
Now, curious youngsters can follow Santa’s path online with a Google two-dimensional map or in 3D using Google Earth, where he can be seen flying through different landscapes in his sleigh.
Amazing! BTW if you go to the website right now, Santa’s current location is listed as “North Pole, Artic”. I thought he usually headed down to Florida or somewhere warm for some R&R after Christmas.