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Santa Tracker on Christmas Eve: There Are Two in 2012

NORAD and Google both offer ways to check on St. Nicholas.

Want to know when Santa Claus will be in Suwanee and Gwinnett? There's a Santa tracker for that.

The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) has you covered. Also, in the digital era, Google will be checking on Santa, too.

For more than 50 years, Norad has been tracking Santa around the globe, and a team of volunteers will be back at it on Christmas Eve.

"Each and every day throughout the year, all of us here at NORAD work diligently to defend and protect our nations," says Gen. Charles H. Jacoby, Jr. NORAD commander. "It is an honor for us to take one day each year to expand our missions to share goodwill and holiday spirit across the globe through the NORAD Tracks Santa program."

-- Will you use Google or NORAD to track Santa? When do you think he will arrive at your house? Share your predictions in the comments below.

NORAD uses four high-tech systems to track Santa – radar, satellites, Santa Cams and fighter jets. However, only Santa knows his route, which means NORAD cannot predict where and when he will get to your home.

Santa usually starts at the International Date Line in the Pacific Ocean and travels west, NORAD noticed, meaning he moves from the South Pacific to New Zealand, Australia, Asia, Africa, Europe and Canada before arriving in the United States.

NORAD was to start tracking Santa’s real-time progress starting at 1 a.m. on December 24. This year, NORAD partnered with Bing and Cesium.

On Dec. 24, children can call or email to check when Santa will be nearby. Dial  1-877-446-6723 (operators are available until 3 a.m. Dec. 25 to answer questions) or email noradtrackssanta@outlook.com to get an update.

Be sure to check the NORAD tracking website as well for information on Santa and his journey.

As for Google, the Los Angeles Times has reported that Google's Santa-tracking operation is headquartered at google.com/santatracker.

Google's actual Santa tracking also will start Christmas Eve. The website also offers games, such as a sled race and dropping presents into chimneys, that are appropriate even for young players.

Portions of this article appeared in Lilburn-Mountain Park Patch.

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