It’s almost time to track Santa’s flight around the globe

It’s fairly common knowledge that the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) has been tracking Santa’s blitz around the planet with his gravity defying reindeer for decades. But do you know how the whole thing started? Brian McClendon, “Original Google Engineering Elf” establishes the back story over at the Lat Long Blog:

NORAD (North American Aerospace Defence Command) first began to track Santa in 1955 when a misprinted advertisement in a Sears & Roebuck catalogue mistakenly led callers expecting a Santa-hotline to the NORAD commander-in-chief’s telephone. Embracing the spirit of the season, NORAD used its satellite and radar capabilities to offer callers sleigh-location updates, and has tracked Santa’s whereabouts on Christmas Eve ever since. Then in 2004, Google started tracking Santa on Google Earth as a 20% project, which in 2007 grew into a partnership with NORAD, adding the mapping technology of Google Maps and Google Earth to the NORAD experience.

Starting tomorrow at 2:00pm EST, you can join the fun by tracing the sleigh’s path from continent to continent–with Google’s assistance–in several different ways:

Visit noradsanta.org and click the Google Maps Santa Cam and gift icons.

Install the Google Earth plugin and go to this NORAD page to see Santa progress in real time.

Track Santa on your phone with Google Maps for mobile or by pointing your mobile browser to m.noradsanta.org.

Get other instant info on Santa with Google’s Realtime Search, the NORADSanta Twitter account, and Santa’s Facebook page.

Google love getting into the holiday spirit and you’ll find references to Santa throughout Google’s properties: from obscure YouTube channels to the daily Doodle, the team in Mountain View and around the world love a good seasonal celebration. Just don’t get so caught up in the tech fun that you forget to prepare the cookies and milk until the very last minute, folks. Happy holidays!

Via Google Lat Long Blog

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