How do we track Santa?

Tracking Santa’s location begins with data collected from NORAD, an organization that defends North America by tracking objects flying in and around its airspace. That data is updated on a highly-precise virtual globe consisting of 3D terrain and satellite imagery that accurately reflects the light from the sun and the position of the stars. Combining the virtual Earth, NORAD data, and a 3D model of Santa’s sleigh with special effects like digital snow, enables millions of people around the world to visualize Santa’s location in real-time.

Learn about the tech powering NORAD Tracks Santa


Create a holiday scene in 3D

This app shows off Cesium's 3D geospatial technology, including an accurate globe, 3D terrain, and 3D buildings.

We want to see your works of art! Tweet a screenshot of your hometown to @CesiumJS

  • Cities and public locations are more likely to include 3D buildings. Try: Lincoln Memorial, Washington, DC, USA
  • Beautiful natural settings are also fun 3D locations. Try: Devils Tower, Crook County, WY, USA

Build your own globe on the web

Learn how to create and share an interactive 3D slideshow without writing code with Cesium Stories.

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Meet Hannah

With a background in computer science and fine arts, Hannah Pinkos designs and develops features across the Cesium platform. Each year, she takes on a special project as the lead developer for the NORAD Tracks Santa app. Hannah holds a master's degree in Computer Science from Georgia Tech. She is also a professional circus aerialist, fire performer, and hula hoop dancer.

Meet the rest of the Cesium team. We're hiring!
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About Cesium

The Platform for 3D Geospatial

Cesium began at an aerospace software company and was originally used to track objects in space. Today, its open platform is used across industries to build applications that make use of 3D location data collected from sensors like satellites and drones. By creating precise digital twins of the Earth with Cesium, users can understand the operations of smart cities, measure piles of soil on construction sites from thousands of miles away, and even track the location of Santa’s sleigh in real-time as he travels around the globe.

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Learn to build 3D geospatial apps with Cesium

Try our flight tracker tutorial  or see  more tutorials