The Story Behind the Genscape Vesseltracker Dragon

Blog August 04, 2015

When the company started tracking vessels in 2006 by installing its first AIS antenna in Hamburg, Germany, finding a name was easy. “Vesseltracker” was perfect, because tracking vessels is what the company does. Today, now called Genscape Vesseltracker, the company locates ships, identifies them, and finds out where they came from and where they are going.

Creating the right logo, however, was a more difficult task for the company. It needed something unique that would pique its audience‘s curiosity and stick in their minds. Fortunately, Vesseltracker was able to draw on a well-known historical group from its home region in Northern Europe: the Vikings. 

The Vikings

As fearsome, seagoing warriors, the Vikings have captured the imaginations of generations of history students around the world. During the Middle Ages, the Vikings set out from their origins in Scandinavia and expanded to much of Northern Europe, Iceland, and even North America. Starting with just three antennas in Hamburg, Vesseltracker wanted to expand our antenna network into the Vikings’ old stomping grounds to cover ports in the North Sea, and so it looked to Viking symbols to provide inspiration for its logo. 


Genscape Vesseltracker LogoVesseltracker tried several different approaches to the Viking theme, including an entire Viking boat and a scary, mysterious dragon with no eyes, similar to the mythological dragon heads that the Vikings carved into the prows of their boats. In the end, the company decided that “less is more,” and got rid of everything except for the dragon’s head.


Once Vesseltracker had settled on the dragon head (with eyes!) as its logo, there was only thing left to determine: the logo’s color. The company thought hard about who it wanted to market ourselves to: major-league players in the European sea trade, with seagoing expertise and a tradition of adopting new, sophisticated technology.

Of course, the company thought of the Dutch. Two of the five biggest ports in cargo tonnage (Rotterdam and Amsterdam) are found in the Netherlands, and they have a long, proud history of trading by sea. And to get a Dutchmen’s attention, all one has to do is color it orange; plus, orange looks quite good together with traditional maritime blue. The final missing ingredient had been found.

Like the Vikings, the Vesseltracker dragon has spread its wings around the world. In only nine years, now as Genscape Vesseltracker, the company has established the world’s largest privately-owned AIS antenna network, tracking the world’s merchant fleet in near real-time.

Genscape acquired GmbH in May 2013, and its data is one of the driving forces behind several Genscape intelligence reports, delivering actionable insights to energy and commodity market participants. Genscape and Vesseltracker have combined their extensive proprietary energy monitoring networks to launch the world’s most comprehensive and accurate datafeed of global shipping. Click here to learn more about Genscape Vesseltracker or request a free trial.