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Tracking Santa Claus: tw telecom and NORAD Partner for Christmas Eve Journey


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December 17, 2012

Tracking Santa Claus: tw telecom and NORAD Partner for Christmas Eve Journey

By Rachel Ramsey, TMCnet Web Editor

Improvements in technology have made a lot of aspects of our lives easier and exciting, but nothing is  more exciting than being able to track Santa Claus as he makes his trip around the world on Christmas Eve.

tw telecom (News - Alert) will assist the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) with the agency’s NORAD Tracks Santa program for the fourth year using high-tech systems – radar, satellites, Santa Cams and fighter jets are all used to track Santa Claus.

The NORAD Tracks Santa program tracks Santa in a number of ways, through Cesium and Bing maps or through the official NORAD Tracks Santa app. Located at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colorado, the NORAD Tracks Santa Operations Center (NTSOC) receives up-to-the-minute status reports from NORAD radar, satellites and Santa cams.

Image via NORAD

Tracking Santa starts with the NORAD radar system called the North Warning System. This powerful radar system consists of 47 installations strung across the northern border of North America. On December 24th, NORAD monitors the radar systems continuously for indications that Santa Claus has left the North Pole. From there, NORAD uses its satellites, Santa Cam network and fighter jets.

"With so many children and parents relying on NORAD for accurate Santa location coordinates, it is critical our communications collaborators are able to meet critical demands," said Marisa Novobilski, NORAD Tracks Santa project lead, in a statement.  "We're very pleased tw telecom will again provide us with the communications resources necessary to manage the call volume we expect this year."

NORAD is a U.S. and Canada bi-national organization charged with the missions of aerospace warning, aerospace control and maritime warning for North America.

Image via NORAD

"NORAD and Peterson Air Force Base employ tw telecom's local communications services for their daily mission-critical communications needs, but also use them for extremely high priority projects such as NORAD Tracks Santa communications," said Rick Corbett, vice president and general manager for tw telecom in Colorado.  "Our technical teams will be on 24-hour alert to ensure the NORAD Track Santa Task Force has these mission-critical communications services at-the-ready.  Our goal is to provide seamless communications service so that every child who is seeking Santa's location will receive it."

One of tw telecom's key differentiators is its unique Intelligent Network capabilities, which gives customers real-time visibility, flexibility and control of network performance metrics.  One of these capabilities, Dynamic Capacity, allows customers to double or triple network capacity in seconds to meet the extra applications demand for planned, like Santa's flight, or unplanned events. 


The Tracks Santa tradition began in 1955, when on Christmas Eve, a girl in Colorado Springs called NORAD, then the Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD) Operations Center, who got the number from a misprinted ad in a local newspaper advertising, had an opportunity to call the jolly old elf to inquire about his location. The on-duty office, Col. Harry Shoup, quickly figured out what had happened but, instead of dismissing the several excited children who called, he told them he was helping Santa, and was tracking his location on the facility’s radars. The following year, after local media had picked up the story, children flooded the CADC with calls.

The NORAD Tracks Santa website,, includes a Countdown to Track Santa clock as well as a Kid's Countdown Village, holiday games and information about Operation Goodwill, which provides links to organizations that support service members and their families. Starting at 12:00 a.m. MST on Dec. 24, website visitors can watch Santa as he makes all the preparations for his flight. Then, at 4:00 a.m. MST (6:00 a.m. EST), trackers worldwide can talk to a live phone operator to inquire about Santa's whereabouts by dialing the toll-free number 1-877-Hi-NORAD (1-877-446-6723) or by sending an e-mail to

Parents and children can also count down the days until Santa's worldwide flight on their smartphones using free apps available in the Apple iTunes Store, Google (News - Alert) Play and Windows Marketplace. Tracking opportunities are also offered on Facebook, Google+, YouTube and Twitter. Santa followers just need to type "@noradsanta" into each search engine to get started. 

Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO Miami 2013, Jan 29- Feb. 1 in Miami, Florida.  Stay in touch with everything happening at ITEXPO (News - Alert). Follow us on Twitter.

Edited by Brooke Neuman

Technology Marketing Corporation

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