Monday, December 24, 2007

NORAD Updates Santa Tracking Technology

It is Christmas Eve and my son and I are doing our annual ritual of tracking Santa's movements with the help of the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) on their website noradsanta.org. NORAD started declassified Santa tracking in 1955 when a newspaper erroneously published the phone number to military command. The Air Force personnel on duty gave the children who called the latest radar information on Santa's location and a tradition was born.

This year's version is making use of Google technology. Google Maps is pinpointing Santa's location with updates every 5 minutes. Each spot marked is a link to a Google search page on the particular location Santa has visited. From here you can learn all about the cities Santa has visited. There is also a plug-in for Google Earth for those who want a better look at the terrain Santa and his reindeer are navigating. While it might be easy to criticize Google for finding a way to commercialize Santa, this actually could become a great lesson in geography. Thanks to the United States Air Force and the Canadian Air Force (who jointly run NORAD) and Google for making a fun holiday activity into fun lesson in geography.

Finally, I would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas.

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