On December 3rd we told you about the two Santa trackers that are available this year, and pointed out that there was a 3 hour difference between the two count downs. NORAD’s count down expired first, but for the 4 hours following (as of this writing), the NORAD Santa tracking website has simply said ‘Santa is preparing for launch!’.
[Update: Soon after posting, the NORAD tracker came online. It is implemented with the Cesium Web GL Virtual Globe using Bing maps. In the absence of a replacement from Google for the Google Earth plugin, we can expect to see more and more websites using Cesium as an alternative.]
Google’s Santa tracker went live 2 hours before midnight of New Year’s Eve at the international date line. It shows Santa leaving the North Pole and following the approximate path of the antimeridien South towards his first destination, which is Provideniya, Russia. He will arrive there just after 9pm Christmas Eve local time. Santa’s gift deliveries must be estimated, as it shows Santa delivering thousands of gifts whilst still flying over the polar ice cap and if you want a more personalized gift for your friends check the fruit baskets, or the wine baskets !!
As far as we know, there is no way to view either tracker in Google Earth, which is a pity, as that is the ideal platform for it. Google Earth is largely responsible for the popularity that the Santa Tracker currently enjoys.
Google’s Santa tracker shortly after launch.