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Santa Tracking Goes High-Tech
It’s almost Christmas, and if you have small kids, you know what that means: prepping for the arrival of a jolly man in a red suit and his confusingly named reindeer. Some of us may remember spending Christmas Eve curled on the couch with a cup of hot cocoa as radio reports tracked Santa’s trip around the globe. But these days, kiddos have gotten a little more high-tech in their search for up-to- date, GPS-driven Kringle updates. First, there’s the Google Santa Tracker (santatracker. google.com), a full-fledged holiday hub for your browser powered by Google Maps, including, of course, an up-to- the-minute GPS tracker for the big man. The application arrived in 2004, and it’s been updated every year since. During the countdown to Christmas, there’s a colorfully animated advent calendar of sorts, where buildings around Santa’s village“thaw out”and reveal a host of fun games and activities. There’s even a section titled“Santa Tracker for Educators,”which includes kid-friendly coding games, information on international holiday traditions, and a translation app to“learn the Santa lingo from around the world.”
When the eve of the big day finally comes, Google promises a showcase of Santa’s“dashboard, the technology that powers his sleigh during his around- the-world journey.”Featuring“the latest and greatest … in sleigh engineering,” the app displays a Google Maps window that tracks each of Santa’s stops, gives status updates from Old Saint Nick, and tells kids how far he is from their city. It’s a colorful, fun adventure for the whole family.
Of course, Google’s not the only kid on the Santa-tracking block. There’s also NORAD Tracks Santa, operated by the North American Aerospace Defense Command, the same organization that tracks nuclear missiles for the government. Similar to Google, noradsanta.org includes a variety of fun games and activities leading up to Christmas. But unlike Google, NORAD has a dedicated Santa- tracking app for your phone, where you can see a 3-D view of Santa’s location during his trip. The app also features videos, so you and your little ones can see clips of Santa flying around major landmarks and world cities. Just don’t stay up too late watching them. You don’t want Santa to skip over your house!
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