Mirosoft announced today that the company is working with North American Aerospace Defense (NORAD) to help power the annual Santa Tracker using NORAD’s powerful global radars and Microsoft technology, including Bing Maps, Windows Azure, and apps for Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8. Once upon a time children would have to take their parents’ word that Santa Claus was on his way (but will only stop at their house if they go to sleep already). Now, using a website, a mobile app, or by placing a phone call to NORAD, children can determine Santa Claus’s approximate global position. Microsoft started working on the project in September, so they have had plenty of time to perfect the tracking software! On Christmas Eve, the NORAD hotline will be staffed by about 1,200 volunteers who, over the course of 24 hours, will sit “shoulder-to-shoulder” working two-hour shifts answering calls from children. On Christmas Eve, children can call the hotline at 1-877-HI-NORAD or email firstname.lastname@example.org to get information on Santa’s whereabouts. In addition, children can download the NORAD Tracks Santa free app or visit the website, which is available in eight languages, including English, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese and Spanish.
“The first year we were on the internet, in 1997, we crashed when we had 100 visitors to our site at the same time,” Novobilski said. “Last year we had 18.9 million visitors through month of December, and upwards of 1 million inquiries per second on December 24.”