December is here again, meaning millions of kids around the world will soon be busy writing Christmas lists comprising items their parents couldn’t possibly afford, but that’s OK because Santa is footing the bill, right? As it’s been doing every year since 1955, the North American Aerospace Defense Command, better known as NORAD, will be tracking Santa’s progress on Christmas Eve as he makes his way around the world delivering gifts, eating mince pies, and knocking back copious amounts of sherry.
For many years, the only way for curious kids to contact NORAD’s tracking team on December 24 was by phone. For the second year running, the organization is teaming up with Bing Maps to help provide accurate data regarding Santa’s whereabouts, though its new site this year also includes a ton of stuff to keep kids entertained and help build up the excitement between now and the big day. Together with the refreshed design and familiar countdown clock, visitors to the site will also find a new 3D globe, an advent-calendar arcade featuring a new game every day, seasonal music featuring Santa’s favorite holiday tunes, movies explaining more about NORAD and Santa, and plenty more besides. Special apps for iOS, Android, and Windows Phone have also been launched, while NORAD Santa can also be found on Twitter and Facebook.
The organization, which usually spends its time looking for suspicious activities in the skies over the US and Canada, started tracking Santa each Christmas Eve 58 years ago after a Colorado Springs newspaper misprinted a ‘hotline’ phone number in an ad inviting kids to call Santa. The misprinted number belonged to NORAD’s predecessor, the Continental Aerospace Defense Command.
PlayVolunteers are pulling on their Santa hats, phone lines are in place and wall-size tracking screens are ready. The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) began tracking Santa Claus on Sunday, Dec. According to a NORAD press release, the site features a number of different activities for kids including a holiday countdown, daily games and activities, videos, music and more. Ed WalshSF Celebrity ExaminerEd Walsh has more than 25 years experience as a journalist covering stories ranging from crime and court to travelogues. It’s Christmas Eve, time for all good boys and girls to be expecting Santa Claus to be bringing them gifts. NORAD is the North American Aerospace Defense Command, a joint US-Canadian operation that watches the skies for threats. It’s possible that the two services will report Santa as being in different locations seemingly at the same time. Having said this, both services are reporting Santa’s location much more similarly than last year.


Onward to the ways to spot Kris Kringle, with the easiest, using a map via your computer, tablet or phone. Buttons in the top right corner allow you to zoom in and out on Santa, and you can click on him and drag to rotate the view around. If you want a cool 3D view from Google, like you get with NORAD, that’s also available.
Perhaps the coolest part of the NORAD Santa tracker is that it, unlike Google, has video of Santa flying around various locations. One way is to use the 2D map of places Santa’s been, as described above, then click on any of the video camera icons shown. If you can’t spot the video icons on the map easily, there is a movie archive on the site. Unfortunately, as you scroll down the list, the video player itself moves up and out-of-sight. The Windows 8 app is similar, so basic that it doesn’t seem worth bothering to install it versus just going to NORAD Tracks Santa in your web browser.
Google has Santa tracking apps, too — but only for Google products, Android and Chrome. NORAD & Google Launches Rival Santa Trackers; Still No Comment From Santa's Camp On Which Site Mrs. SMX Advanced, the only conference designed for experienced search marketers, returns to Seattle June 22-23. MarTech: The Marketing Tech Conference is for marketers responsible for selecting marketing technologies and developing marketing technologists. More recently, however, it’s taken full advantage of the Internet to make the experience a whole lot more fun, with a revamped tracking site launching Sunday. Not surprisingly, calls flooded in, but fortunately those on duty that night played along and gave updates on Santa’s location as he went about delivering gifts.
NORAD has been tracking Santa since 1955, something that started by accident. An ad for a local Sears store invited children to call for Santa’s location.
The screen also shows you where he was last seen, where he’s heading and current number of gifts estimated to be delivered.


Still and video camera icons mark where Santa’s been, though only video icons have images of him in flight. That means when you click on a particular clip, you might not realize it’s playing unless you figure out you need to scroll back up to see the player. Once you tap to send the tracking app to Chromecast, the TV will continue to update the location, even if you turn your phone off. You’ll probably get a recorded message, then after a short wait (it was about two minutes for me), usually a military volunteer spending Christmas Eve will answer, doing a different type of service, that of helping children and adults around the world continue to believe. He’s a widely cited authority on search engines and search marketing issues who has covered the space since 1996. Neither service can keep up with how quickly he moves, so they try to approximate things as best they can. A Santa icon spots his current location, and clicking on the camera icon in the top left corner will recenter the map around where he’s at. Like NORAD, you will have the ability to explore more about the place via Wikipedia information.
I only wish it was made available for iPhone and Windows Phone users or somehow worked within the Chrome browser for anyone.
Danny also serves as Chief Content Officer for Third Door Media, which publishes Search Engine Land and produces the SMX: Search Marketing Expo conference series. Rather than disappoint the children who called, the military used its radars to spot Father Christmas in the sky. Below, our annual review of the tracking sites and methods of using them that range from the web, to your mobile device, to your TV and even a good old-fashioned phone call.



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