Children can track Santa with military precision

Children eager to track Santa Claus on his annual Christmas Eve journey to homes across the world can download a new mobile app thanks to a military aerospace agency.

The app for Windows 8, called Norad Tracks Santa, is part of a 57-year-long Christmas tradition at the North American Aerospace Defence Command of tracking Santa.

It will allow children to keep up with him on their mobile devices and joins similar apps for iOS, Android, and web apps.

“Every Dec 24 since 1955 we have been telling children exactly where Santa is so that children all over the world can make sure that they’re in bed on time so that Santa will deliver their presents,” said Stacey Knott, a deputy chief at Norad, the US-Canadian military organisation based in Colorado.

In addition to tracking Santa’s location on Christmas Eve, the app also shows cameos from his route across major landmarks like the Eiffel Tower and the Great Wall of China.

Norad’s involvement dates to a 1955 advertisement in a local Sears, Roebuck & Co department store asking children to call Santa directly. However, the phone number in the ad contained a typo.

Instead of reaching Santa’s private phone, the children gained direct access to the Continental Air Defence Command, Norad’s predecessor.

“Any call on this line was the chairman, or the secretary of defence, or even the president,” said Knott.

Colonel Harry Shoup was working that Christmas Eve when the first child called.

“This little tiny girl’s voice said, ‘Is this Santa?’,” said Knott. “Shoup looked around because he thought someone was playing a joke on him, but then he talked to the girl’s mom and realised what had happened.”

Shoup instructed his staff to check the radar for signs of Santa and relayed the information to the children, and the tradition was born.

In addition to the app, children can visit to get information on Santa’s location.


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