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NORAD Tracks Santa 2009


Follow Santa’s journey around the world in Google Earth and Google Maps

This Christmas Eve, Google will once again partner with NORAD to help track Santa’s journey around the world. As soon as St. Nick and his reindeer take off from the North Pole - reported to be at approximately 2am EST - Santa’s location will appear on both a Google Map and in Google Earth, at Throughout the day, NORAD will track Santa and regularly update his location, enabling anyone to follow his progress as he makes his way around the globe delivering gifts.

This is the latest chapter in a rich history of Santa-tracking for both NORAD and Google. NORAD first began tracking Santa in 1955 when a misprinted magazine advertisement from Colorado Springs, CO displayed the NORAD (then CONAD) Commander-in-Chief Operations hotline, rather than the ’Santa hotline’ phone number that was intended. Embracing the holiday spirit, NORAD officials provided callers with the location of Santa’s sleigh, according to their radars, and they’ve done so ever since. First tracked in Google Earth - then “Keyhole Earth Viewer” - by current Googler Brian McClendon in 2004, Google became NORAD’s official technology partner in 2007 displaying Santa’s route in Google Earth and Google Maps.

There are several ways to keep tabs on Santa’s journey this year with NORAD Tracks Santa:

* Google Earth and Maps - Beginning at 2am EST on Christmas Eve, Santa’s location can be tracked on both a Google Map and with the Google Earth Plug-in at The Google Earth Plug-in enables users to enjoy the immersive Google Earth experience from within their web browsers. To see Santa in 3D in Google Earth, make sure you have the Google Earth Plug-in installed - it will be activated automatically when you download Google Earth 5.1 - visit, and click ’Track Santa in Google Earth’. That’s all there is to it! Have a look at our blog post on the Geo-developer’s blog for more information about our use of the Google Earth Plug-in this year. Users can use the 2-D or 3-D map on the NORAD site to follow his progress over the course of the day, or embed the 2-D Map on their own website to track Santa. Note: Santa will not be trackable this year with the Google Earth client.

* Google Maps for Mobile - Keep tabs on Santa from most mobile phones with Google Maps for mobile. Just open Google Maps on your phone and search for “Santa”, or enter in your phone’s browser. For more information about mobile Santa-tracking, have a look at the Official Google Mobile blog.

* YouTube - NORAD’s ’Santa-cams’ have been positioned to capture footage of Santa zooming through select locations around the world. This footage will be posted on as it’s captured, and uploaded over the course of the day to the NORAD Tracks Santa channel on YouTube. Be sure to revisit the ’Videos’ page at to get the most recent santa-cam footage from NORAD.

* Real Time Search - Given the speed - ’1 “T” (Twinkle of an eye) maximum climbing speed,’ according to NORAD - of Santa’s sleigh and the virtually countless visits he makes on Christmas Eve, tracking St. Nick can be pretty difficult. One way to keep up with this Christmas Eve activity is with Google’s new Real Time Search. Users can discover public information from micro-blogs such as Twitter and Friendfeed, the latest news articles, blog posts, and other relevant materials about Santa, published to the web in real-time and directly within Google’s search results. See what people on the web are currently saying about Santa, get tweets from @noradsanta and much more.

To learn more about NORAD Tracks Santa, have a look at our Official Google Blog Post

Visit, or, on most mobile phones, to track Santa on Christmas Eve. Enjoy, have fun, and from all of us at Google, happy holidays and happy new year!


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