NORAD Drops Google Maps for 'Santa Tracker'

Google launches its own map for St. Nick

By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff

Posted Dec 23, 2012 3:45 PM CST | Updated Dec 23, 2012 4:00 PM CST

(Newser) – After five years of tracking Saint Nick, Google and NORAD are going their separate ways. The North American Aerospace Defense Command announced this week that it was now working with Microsoft Bing to follow Santa's worldwide progress, the Guardian reports. Google has launched its own "Santa tracker" including games and personalized calls from Saint Nick to children. But NORAD's tracking system will be no slouch, with data on Santa's elevation, photos of his journey, weather, and Wikipedia information on his various stops.

And NORAD will offer updates on Santa's trip via Twitter and YouTube. Twenty-five million people will likely use NORAD's tracker this year via Bing Maps and apps for Windows 8, Windows Phones, and Android phones, reports Business Insider. NORAD began tracking Santa when a misprint in a 1955 department store ad led a child to call the agency for information on Santa's latest stop. The NORAD employee who took the call made sure to answer, and the agency has maintained the tradition ever since.

In this Dec. 24, 2010 file photo, Air Force Lt. Col. David Hanson takes a phone call from a child in Florida at the Santa Tracking Operations Center near Colorado Springs, Colo.
In this Dec. 24, 2010 file photo, Air Force Lt. Col. David Hanson takes a phone call from a child in Florida at the Santa Tracking Operations Center near Colorado Springs, Colo.   (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)
In this Dec. 24, 2010 file image, the official NORAD tracking of Santa Claus is shown on a satellite map of the world.
In this Dec. 24, 2010 file image, the official NORAD tracking of Santa Claus is shown on a satellite map of the world.   (AP Photo/NORAD, via noradsanta.org)
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