Celebrate the Holidays with Interactive Esri #BestXmasEver Map

Esri has created two holiday maps that you can embed or share as part of your holiday and Christmas coverage. Esri’s Smithsonian Folkways Holiday Music Map is a singing map that lets you explore traditional holiday songs from the Smithsonian Folkways collection. Listen to 56 tracks across 24 countries celebrating Christmas, Chanukah, and Kwanzaa.

Esri’s #BestXmasEverMap documents favorite holiday places around the globe as reported through Twitter. Visitors can see which places are most popular and add their own by tagging their tweet with #BestXmasEverMap and adding in a city and state or country. You can embed this map into your site with the following code: Users can embed these maps into their websites via the provided code… Best Christmas map ever!

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Canada will try to extend its territorial claims in the Arctic and North Pole

An interesting announcement regarding some Arctic land claim issues… A formal scientific submission was made to the United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf last week covering 1.2 million square kilometres of territorial claims in the Atlantic, but the government says material submitted for the Arctic Ocean is only preliminary.

Canasda to claim North Pole

Despite saying two years ago that data collection was complete, the federal government plans to send its scientists back into the field for more work mapping a giant undersea mountain range that Ottawa says could secure the sea floor under the top of the world for the Maple Leaf.

Read more HERE

Yes Virginia, NORAD is Tracking Santa Again this Year!

Let the fun begin…  Once again the popular resource is back and featuring a cool, slick design (Java required) with loads of fun facts and trivia, games, and maps. The North American Aerospace Defense Command is prepared to track Santa’s yuletide journey! The newly redesigned NORAD Tracks Santa website, www.noradsanta.org, went live Sunday, Dec. 1 featuring a holiday countdown, daily games and activities, videos, music and more. Beyond a new look, features such as a 3D globe and new interactive games take advantage of today’s modern web.

norad santa

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The Esri Santa Dashboard Story Map Leverages Seasonal Social Media

Tis the season and the Esri Story Map team has put together another fun, and creative story map for us – The Santa Dashboard. Using Social Media the resource maps a number of Santa related posts including hot spots around the World for Christmas lights, photos of amazing Christmas Trees (Flickr), images and videos of Santa, and much more. Pretty awesome and fun! Check it out at http://storymaps.esri.com/stories/2012/santa-dashboard/

The History of NORAD Santa… Believe!

Over the years one of our favorite topics of discussion in December here at GISuser has been NORAD Santa… the fine efforts of the NORAD team implemented each year to track and secure Santa Claus during his long journey. It was back in 1955 out of the Continental Air Defence Command (CONAD) when Colonel Harry Shoup (The “Santa Colonel”) began communicating with Santa and radar sites in order to track Santa. A special phone line started receiving calls from children all over the country when Sears Roebuck accidentally made a mis-print in an ad about how to call Santa, routing the calls to Col. Shoup… the rest is history! Sadly, Colonel Shoup passed away on March 14, 2009 in Colorado Springs, however, there’s no doubt that NORAD and the Shoup family is expecting and will greatly appreciate the emails, phone calls, and Internet traffic to continue to increase every year as the NORAD team continues with the tradition. Read more in this feature and be sure to visit http://www.noradsanta.org



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The History of NORAD Santa

Over the years one of our favorite topics of discussion in December here at GISuser has been NORAD Santa… the fine efforts of the NORAD team implemented each year to track and secure Santa Claus during his long journey. We’ve covered off all the technology and fun features provided by the team, helping to clarify to the population how and where to access the tools made available to us every Christmas Eve.

It was back in 1955 out of the Continental Air Defence Command (CONAD) when Colonel Harry Shoup (The “Santa Colonel”) began communicating with Santa and radar sites in order to track Santa.  See more on the history here… oh, and Merry Christmas!


Here’s a favorite video of mine from the team in NORAD describing some of the technical logistics

50+ Years of NORAD Santa – Here’s How NORAD uses Technology

I’m a HUGE fan of NORAD Santa and have been a fan and user since I can remember… so, to continue with my tradition I’d like to help spread the word about the awesome job the fine crew at NORAD does every year. Once again, beginning  on Christmas Eve, you can track Santa Live as he makes his historic journey around the world! This time you can track him using Google Earth and get glimpses of Saint Nick captured with the NORAD Santa Cams.  NORAD has been tracking Santa since 1955 (I recall using this fine service when I was a kid, albeit without the help of Google Earth at that time!).

NORAD Santa is available around the World in multiple languages

Funded by generous corporate sponsors, these companies enable a fun tracking service by providing computer servers, web site design, video imaging, Santa’s tracking map, and even the toll free telephone number. The NORAD Tracks Santa Program is managed by the NORAD and United States Northern Command Public Affairs Office at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado.

Did You Know…

The tradition began after a Colorado Springs-based Sears Roebuck & Co. store advertisement for children to call Santa on a special “hotline” included an inadvertently misprinted telephone number. Instead of Santa, the phone number put kids through to the CONAD Commander-in-Chief’s operations “hotline.” The Director of Operations, Colonel Harry Shoup, received the first “Santa” call on Christmas Eve 1955.

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The NORAD Santa Tradition Continues – Some historical facts about The “Santa Colonel”

Over the years one of our favorite topics of discussion in December here at GISuser has been NORAD Santa… the fine efforts of the NORAD team implemented each year to track and secure Santa Claus during his long journey. We’ve covered off all the technology and fun features provided by the team, helping to clarify to the population how and where to access the tools made available to us every Christmas Eve. And so, I was particularly interested in an article that appeared last year in  “Colorado Country Life”, a publication of the Poudre Valley Rural Electric Association. The article shared some historical facts about tracking Santa and how NORAD Santa has become a Global phenomenon and tradition for many families. The following are a few of the interesting facts that I picked up on in the article:

  • It was back in 1955 out of the Continental Air Defence Command (CONAD) when Colonel Harry Shoup (The “Santa Colonel”) began communicating with Santa and radar sites in order to track Santa.
  • A special phone line started receiving calls from children all over the country when Sears Roebuck accidentally made a mis-print in an ad about how to call Santa, routing the calls to Col. Shoup… the rest is history!
  • Rather than ignoring the barrage of calls on Christmas eve, Colonel Shoup answered all the calls that came to his line and pretended he was Santa in order to not dissapoint any of the callers… a tradition was then born.
  • During November and December 2006, the NORAD Santa website logged more than a billion hits and generated over a half a million phone calls and over 212,500 emails.

Sadly, Colonel Shoup passed away on March 14, 2009 in Colorado Springs, however, there’s no doubt that NORAD and the Shoup family is expecting and will greatly appreciate the emails, phone calls, and Internet traffic to continue to increase every year as the NORAD team continues with the tradition.On a personal note, I’d like to thank Col. Shoup, his family, and NORAD for starting such a wonderful service and for creating an annual tradition in our household… I can’t wait until Christmas eve!  Be sure to Bookmark http://www.noradsanta.org

Additional Social Media Santa Resources:

NORAD Santa Articles on GISuser

santa map

Using  the North Warning Radar System and “Santa Cams”, NORAD and their partners follow Santa’s every move on his journey.

Norad Santa Takes Flight @NoradSanta

The team from Colorado Springs has kicked off this year’s Norad Tracks Santa project and http://www.noradsanta.org is now live.  Follow the countdown to Santa, grab the mobile app (Google) for use on Christmas eve, watch some fun videos, and follow the team on various social media outlets… enjoy!



National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency Assists Santa Claus via Toy Delivery System

Santa began using the United States’ premier mapping and imagery agency when growing world demand for his services became too much for Rudolph to do alone. “NGA provides not only the exact location of some particularly difficult chimneys to navigate, but also gives me terrain data I need to navigate areas where my sleigh previously could not land. The timely and accurate data I get from NGA improves my route planning and holiday gift delivery process across the world,” said Santa. See more details HERE