It's time! The NORAD Santa Tracker has gone live, following Santa's progress around the world as he delivers gifts this Christmas Eve. The NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command) tracker began early this morning, with Santa's first stop in Russia and a travel route that crosses Asia, Africa, Europe, and then the Americas.
This tracking Santa tradition began in 1955, when a typographical error caused children to dial NORAD's number nstead of a Santa tracker. The NORAD team was instructed to give the children news about Santa's whereabouts, and have been doing so ever since. Nowadays, the company uses a computer-generated simulator (but they'll still answer phone calls, too). There's also an interactive, learning aspect too: users can click photos on the map and learn more about the parts of the world that Santa has visited.
In addition to tracking his progress, the program also updates how many gifts Santa's delivered along the way:
— NORAD Santa (@NoradSanta) December 25, 2013
(There's even an iOS app, too.)
NORAD was in the news earlier this week when it faced criticism that the program is injecting militarism into Christmas. Regardless, the website had 22 million unique visitors last year and has 1.4 million Facebook likes.
Image via News Distribution Network