Reimagining Startup and Enterprise Innovation

The Startup Behind the NORAD Santa Tracker is joining Oracle for Startups

Amy Sorrells
Global Communications, Oracle for Startups

The NORAD Tracks Santa ® website has become a holiday tradition, with more than 20 million excited children and parents flocking to the site every Christmas Eve to keep tabs on Santa’s path around the world. As if that’s not exciting enough, the cloud startup that helps power the world-famous Santa Tracker is joining Oracle for Startups

Cesium, a complete platform for 3D geospatial data, has joined Oracle's startup program to scale their business and technical capabilities. The startup’s platform handles optimization, visualization, and analytics for organizations worldwide. Since 2012, the fast-growing cloud startup’s technology has enabled a world-class 3D experience for watching Santa’s journey. 

Cesium powers the Santa Tracker

Built on Cesium’s open-source 3D mapping library, CesiumJS shows Santa’s current position on a 3D globe with realistic global terrain, oceans, and imagery. CesiumJS was founded with roots in the aerospace industry, so accuracy and precision were a top priority from day one. 

The technology works like a video game. A virtual earth is composed of several pieces: a map of the stars, lighting from the sun, satellite imagery of the land and sea, and a 3D representation of terrain features. Billboards indicate locations that Santa has already visited, while camera flights smoothly transition the view as users interact, watching videos of Santa in flight, or diving into information about the areas he has already visited. Cesium adds a model of Santa Claus and updates his position as they get updates from NORAD’s network of Santa-tracking sensors.

Learn more about the technical side of the Santa Tracker on Cesium's blog

How Cesium unlocks 3D data

“3D geospatial data is all around us—and it’s being collected at astonishing rates, every second of every day, by sensors on satellites, aircraft, cars, drones, and more. Yet the vast majority goes unused,” said Cesium CEO Patrick Cozzi. “We want to unleash the power of this 3D content to create new and exciting solutions for organizations and industries worldwide.” 

The startup is unlocking the potential of 3D geospatial data, helping developers and data providers build dynamic 3D geospatial applications, and Santa Claus is not the only big name to leverage the startup technology.

Red Bull uses Cesium for its Red Bull X-Alps 2019 race, allowing fans to follow the race online, including athletes’ GPS positions and detailed statistics. Lockheed Martin implemented Cesium for the National Geospatial Agency (NGA) GEOINT Visualization Services (GVS) and the Map of the World (MoW) Viewer. Cesium worked with Uber to enhance the platform’s visualization data capabilities and to support 3D Tiles and massive 3D geospatial datasets—making 3D geospatial data more accessible and usable.

Why Cesium chose Oracle for Startups

Cesium was drawn to the resources Oracle's startup program can uniquely provide. The startup believes that Oracle’s industry teams, global customers and cloud computing solutions can boost its growth and revenue.

“From a strategic business perspective, this partnership makes perfect sense and comes at a pivotal time for our growth,” said Cozzi. “Cesium aligns well with Oracle’s government and commercial users, and together we can help Oracle customers achieve new and unique 3D geospatial solutions.”

Cozzi continues, “3D geospatial datasets are among the biggest of the big data so we have to build everything with performance in mind. Oracle has enterprise-proven cloud computing, and parallel programming that will help us continue to achieve peak performance and ease-of-use for developers and data providers worldwide.”

Stay tuned for updates on Cesium and Oracle next year. We are looking forward to doing some big and disruptive things together. 

Join Cesium and start building for the enterprise with free cloud from Oracle for Startups. 


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