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The Engineer's Notebook

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NORAD and Google Team Up To Track Santa

Posted December 19, 2007 12:01 AM by Sharkles
Pathfinder Tags: google NORAD Santa tracking Santa

When I was a kid, I didn't know that there were ways to track Santa. Instead, I would anxiously lie in my bed and hope that he would make it to my house. I didn't know that some kids were able to track Santa thanks to NORAD.

The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) has been tracking Santa since 1955, when Sears Roebuck & Co. inadvertently printed the wrong telephone number in an advertisement. The number that was supposed to connect children to Santa at the North Pole was actually the number to NORAD's commander-in chief, Colonel Harry Shoup. Luckily, Colonel Shoup had a sense of humor; he instructed the person in charge of answering the phone to report Santa's position to the children that called. Since that Christmas over 50 years ago, NORAD has been helping children track Santa.

This year, NORAD is teaming up with Google to make Santa tracking even more accurate. NORAD will now use Google technology like Google Maps, Google Earth, iGoogle, and YouTube to track Santa's sleigh.

What is heartwarming about this story is that Colonel Shoup's granddaughter, Carrie Farrell, is a member of the Google team that is making this partnership happen. On the official Google blog Farrell writes, "I can remember tracking Santa with my grandfather as a child, and I'm so proud to see my company carry on his vision of doing something this special for kids around the world."

The countdown until Santa started on December 1st on the NORAD tracks Santa site. This site features kid-friendly games and activities that will keep them busy as they wait for Santa to visit. On December 24th, at 1:00 am PST, kids will be able to track Santa's movement. On that day, you can download the special Santa tracking file for a 3-D experience from NORAD's Santa site.

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Anonymous Poster
#1

Re: NORAD and Google Team Up To Track Santa

12/21/2007 8:45 AM

I once worked at Cheyenne Mountain Air Station, NORAD's home. While there, I volunteered as one of the folks who answer the phone for Santa tracking updates to kids who call in. It was one of the most enjoyable evenings I ever spent, and just about every kid that called in was thrilled at the information. That year was also the first year there was a website for kids to plot Santa's progress on. As I recall, there were still many kids who were doing both, so I hope the old-fashioned phone call is still in place.

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#2

Re: NORAD and Google Team Up To Track Santa

01/05/2008 5:10 AM

I think that's rather unfair.

My whole anonymous existence is threatened by such tracking devices.

Signed:

S Claus.

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