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The 2008 Santa Tracker Review: Your Guide To Tracking From NORAD To Twitter
It’s Christmas Eve, and that means Santa Claus is out doing his run. But where is Santa right now? Thanks to the internet, there’s a huge number of ways to get Santa sightings. Below, a summary that covers online video sightings, Santa’s phone number (apparently he can talk while driving), email updates, tracking him via your mobile phone and yes, even getting Twitter updates.
NOTE: If you’re looking for the latest information on Santa tracking for the current year, see our Your Guide To Santa Trackers page.
They’ve been doing it for over 50 years now, and the NORAD site focuses on showing you a map of Santa’s location along with a video clip of him caught by radar-controlled cameras as he flies past various locations. See past places he’s been to today here. Be sure to read our Santa Tracker 2008: Google & NORAD Team Up Again post for an in-depth look at the NORAD site.
Want to go old school to track Santa? You can email Santa or call Santa for updates, courtesy of NORAD.
If you have the Google Earth mapping software, this page explains the Google Earth Santa Tracker, which plots NORAD’s tracking data into it for you. Again, see Santa Tracker 2008: Google & NORAD Team Up Again for more details about this.
Playing catch-up to Google, which hosts the NORAD site, Microsoft is trying to step it up this year with its own 3D Santa finder service. You’ll find it here. It operates using aerial data from Live Search Maps (AKA Microsoft Virtual Earth). You have to have the Virtual Earth 3D plug-in installed. Firefox users and Mac users need not apply — Microsoft doesn’t support either with its tracker. Bah, humbug. For those who don’t meet those requirements, Microsoft says to try this page for an automated look. I did; it didn’t work. The screenshots look cool, but when I tried it, I didn’t see any way to go back to previous locations he’s visited. But I was running it through Windows via my Mac, and the app just ground to a halt. It might have been too processor intensive for a virtual Windows setup.
If you have Google Maps Mobile on your phone (iPhone, T-Mobile Android G1, BlackBerry, Windows Mobile or Nokia are all supported), there’s a special Santa search command to bring up his location. Just search for “norad santa” to get an update on where is Santa Claus. Handy for those out doing last minute shopping! But a bit disappointing. The photo above is blurry, but you get the point hopefully — Santa is tracked by only showing the name of a place. No sleigh, not hat, nothing that screams out Santa.
Got an iPhone? Earthscape has a free app that shows you exactly where Santa is. I’ve downloaded it — it’s super cool.
Pretty basic compared to NORAD, this Santa watch tool just superimposes the hard-working guy generally over a part of the world. But if you want a “Santa radar” style experience, you get it with the little radar dishes and radar screens around his image.
That’s right, Jolly Olde Saint Nick is now on Twitter. Run by NORAD, he’s not only Twittering his location but also replying to people. Awesome!