There is no more common element of tracking Santa than the Map. It is the one thing everyone here at the North Pole watches all the time.
You would not believe the work that goes into getting the map, either.
Of course, there is technology. Those are not just regular sleigh bells you see on the sleigh — those are sensors. Yes, built into the bell, beyond the beautiful and shiny gold of the bell, are tiny sophisticated pieces of electronics. They provide measurements such as air temperature, relative wind speed, altitude measurements and, of course, speed metrics of the sleigh itself.
They also contain GPS technology — tiny encrypted bits of computer code in silicon that tell us where Santa’s sleigh is. There are similar sensors on the reindeer harnesses and in Santa’s suit.
But beyond the technology are elves — lots of elves. They sit in what we call the map room at the North Pole. Using their computers and devices they evaluate the data and keep the map up and current.
In order to become a map room elf you have to be quite the geek. You have to know computers. You have to go to school for a long time to become educated in science, weather, computers and, of course, geography.
Why do you think so much time, effort and technology is put into Santa’s map?
Well, what would we do if something happened to Santa? What if he got lost? What if there was some sort of accident?
These are the reasons — serious reasons — why so much goes into the map.
But Santa still wants people to be able to use the map in tracking him every Christmas. He likes that people keep track of him. He thinks it is fun. And he thinks it is educational for the kids, too. It teaches them geography and builds interest in all kinds of things. Santa say nothing but good can come from the map.
Right now, you can only see the official North Pole version of the map at NorthPoleFlightCommand.com — click here. However, once Santa launches from the North Pole the map will be on every official North Pole website (including this one) as well as other authorized websites out there.
The map shows not only the current position of Santa’s sleigh. It shows where he has been as well. Right now, it’s tracking the test flights of Santa’s sleigh. It has a special marker for the current position and it leaves a little Christmas tree icon for places it has visited.
When Santa flies, you see a Santa for the current position and a little present icon for where he has been to. Kinda cool.
Santa likes to keep it simple when it comes to his map.