The Northern United states Aerospace Protection Control, better known as NORAD, is shooting up its Santa claus monitoring system again this season to keep a record of the jolly old elf’s direction around the planet.
Tracking Santa claus has been a custom since 1955, when a misprinted ad provided the get in touch with number for what was then known as CONAD as the information for a Santa claus hotline. The home at the time, Air Power Col. John Shoup, instructed those on responsibility to give Santa’s place on the mouth to any kid who known as. The custom has ongoing ever since.
This season, NORAD desires more than 1,500 volunteers to help with the attempt, said Deep blue blue Capt. Mark Davis, NORAD’s home of community matters. Volunteers take two-hour changes, and the command depends on relationships to offer the all-day assistance without using tax payer money.
NORAD, of course, keeps up its regular functions during its Santa claus observe. It is able to home those volunteers in a individual, non-classified assistance on its platform in Denver.
Microsoft is the headline partner for this year’s effort, using its Azure cloud platform to help NORAD deal with the annual traffic spike it sees from the effort.
The command center has also rolled out a series of free game and tracking apps for Apple, Google Android and Microsoft phones, as well as Windows PCs, to make the effort more accessible for parents and kids. So far, Davis said, NORAD has seen more than 1.7 million app downloads across all devices.
“We’re excited about it and excited about supporting the folks who are out there 24/7,” said Tim Solms, Microsoft’s general manager for its business with the Defense Department.
NORAD worked with other partners, such as Colorado firm iLink Systems, to design some of its apps.
For the past five years, NORAD’s main partner has been Google. But after discussing the project with Google this year, Davis said, the two groups had different visions for the future of the tracker program and agreed to go their separate ways.
Davis said the split was amicable. Google’s partnership, he said, “helped us to increase the awareness of the program around the world, and we’re very grateful for their partnership.”
“Having a big team is important to us,” Davis said. “We want this to be done as a community service and avoid doing anything that would make it seem commercialized.”
Google is still continuing with its own version of the Santa Tracker this year, separate from NORAD, for those who want to stick with Google Maps as they follow Santa’s sleigh around the world.
Davis said called speculation that NORAD split with Google for financial reasons “hogwash,” and reiterated that NORAD does not make any money through the effort.
Davis said that the Santa Tracker is a favorite tradition and a welcome bit of fun into the demanding daily duties of monitoring U.S. airspace.