NORAD, Google track Santa’s Christmas Eve journey

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Since 1955, NORAD has been tracking Santa as he delivers presents on Christmas Eve. Screenshot/noradsanta.org
Since 1955, NORAD has been tracking Santa as he delivers presents on Christmas Eve.

After more than 50 years of tracking Santa, the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) continues to update millions on his whereabouts on Christmas Eve.

The tradition started in 1955 when a Colorado Springs-based Sears Roebuck & Co. advertisement misprinted the telephone number for children to call Santa, according to noradsanta.org.

Those calls went to the Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD) Commander-in-Chief’s operations, and not wanting to disappoint the children who called, the director of operations had his staff “check the radar” for Santa’s location.

CONAD continued to track Santa until 1958 when the newly created bi-national air defense command, NORAD, took over the task.

Today, tracking Santa has gone high-tech.

Volunteers still respond to phone calls, but answer emails as well.

Updates are also posted to Twitter through @NoradSanta, Facebook, where the NORAD Santa tracker has more than a million likes, smartphone and tablet apps, and on noradsanta.org.

The website, which is available in eight languages, features an interactive map that tracks Santa in real time, and information on where he was last spotted, where he is headed next and how many gifts he has delivered.

For seven years NORAD used Google Maps to track Santa, but this year Microsoft’s Bing is providing the mapping software.

Google now has its own Santa Dashboard to track his Christmas Eve journey.

As of 4:30 p.m., NORAD said St. Nick was last spotted in Gaborone, Botswana in Africa, but according to Google, he is currently in Istanbul, Turkey.