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Santa Run: Web Efforts

As we in the Carnival Committee are getting ready for the Santa Run 2018 (which is on the 7th, 8th and 9th of December!) I thought I’d share a little about what’s happening from a geeky / IT-perspective.


A couple of years ago, a very-last-minute idea popped into my head about us being able to have you, the good folk of Doddington, track our location as we crawl around the village with Santa and his Sleigh, and we managed to get it to work in time.  A little rough around the edges maybe, but nonetheless, we had a working GPS tracking system.  When I say ‘rough’, I mean it wasn’t as brilliant as I had hoped that it would have been, but hey, it worked to a fashion.

Last year, we managed to get a live video stream working via Facebook Live, so that, again, the good folk of Doddington, could see what was happening on the Sleigh, whether it was before or after we’ve been around to your houses.

THIS YEAR… we’re pushing the boundaries of previous years, building on previous efforts and going all-in.  Here’s how.

The (pre-made) GPS Tracker mobile app that we were using for the past couple of years was ok, but a little ‘buggy’, in that it sometimes ‘dropped out’ of satellite signal and reverted Santa’s location as being back in the North Pole! Now, maybe Santa nipped home for a wee whilst our Elves were turning around the Sleigh, but more likely, the North Pole location was the ‘go-to’ default.  Not a great experience.   This year, I’ve completely re-made the Doddington Carnival GPS tracking app that we’re using for the Santa Tracker, and have (hopefully) increased the  accuracy at the same time.  Also, I’ve added the map as a usable, draggable, Google Maps onto the website, within the Santa Run section.

The live stream is set to return, but this time, through the wonders that is YouTube Live.   We’ll be recording the Sleigh directly up to the YouTube Live website, but also I’ve been able to integrate the live stream into the Doddington Carnival website itself, meaning that you don’t need to go anywhere, or do anything special to see it. And… it’ll be on our very own YouTube Channel for the future, where we’ll be adding more of our archived video footage from the past, as well as the future.

Part of why I wanted to explain about just this little tiny piece of the Santa Run, was to show you all the thought and care that’s being put into the weekend.  Whilst I’ve been sitting inside my warm house at a computer making this-and-that on the website, our other more manly-Elves have been out in the cold workshop, pretty much re-building and redecorating the Sleigh for Santa to use.  So many hours have been spent in other areas, too, such as route planning, advertising, social media and much more.  I might have mentioned before in a blog post, it really was the Santa Run in 2015 that really got me hooked with the Carnival, as the whole Carnival Committee seemed to put in so very much effort into making the faces of children (of all ages!) light up, when Santa came knocking. Maybe we make it look too easy, but we also thoroughly enjoy ourselves too.  Maybe it’s something you might offer to help with some time, perhaps? We’d love to hear from you if you do.

Anyway, enough rambling. If you haven’t seen the Doddington Carnival website recently, head on over for a peak: (And if  you spot are any typos on there, just drop us a quiet email about it!)

Hope to see you all out there with Santa,
however old you are, and
wherever you live in the village!


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