Keep track of Santa Claus and Rudolph with help of NORAD, Google

Courtesy photo

Bruno Bowden, the lead engineering elf on Google’s Santa Tracker project with NORAD, explains how enhancements will let Google Earth and Google Maps mobile help kids of all ages track the whereabouts of Santa Claus on Christmas Eve. Follow jolly ol’ St. Nick at www.noradsanta.org.

How do you track Santa? With GPS or Rudolph’s nose? Rudolph’s nose gives off a unique heat signal and so we use that, and a number of satellites positioned in space detect the heat signal.

When should the Bay Area start to see Santa? Based on past experience, he typically visits the Bay Area between 11 [p.m.] and midnight. Children may have to head to bed to make sure Santa comes along.

What does Google Earth bring to this? The Google Earth plug-in allows people to see Santa flying around from city to city and is a very engaging experience. The other thing that is available is Google Maps for mobile, where you can search for Santa on Christmas Eve and it will show the location as well.

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