We specialise in creating and analysing spatial economics data

505 Economics is a London-based economics company set up by post-doctoral and doctoral researchers from the London School of Economics, the #1-ranked Economic Geography department globally. We are backed by the European Space Agency BIC UK. We have published in peer-reviewed journals, designed policies for national governments, and use cutting edge technology such as OpenAI’s GPT-3, deep learning methods, and high resolution satellite imagery.

Our mission is to make academic economics geospatial data accessible.

Lars Ludolph


Lars is an economist whose research specialises in European labour markets, public economics and the political economy of Europe. He has previously worked for the European Commission, the Centre for European Policy Research, and the Central Bank of Malta. He holds a PhD in Economic Geography from the London School of Economics.

Yohan Iddawela

Executive Director, Co-Founder

Yohan is a development economist and geospatial data scientist. He has previously worked as an economist for the Australian Government and as a consultant for the World Bank, OECD, Afghan Ministry of Finance and the Puerto Rican Office of Management and Budget. He holds a PhD in Economic Geography from the LSE, where he is currently a Visiting Fellow.

Jon Lo

Co-Founder - Strategy, Tech, Data

Jon is a Forbes 30 under 30 entrepreneur leading 505’s commercialization strategy and synthesisation of traditional economics with the latest tech – particularly in 505’s work with Open AI’s GPT-3. His work has been featured on the BBC, Associated Press, and in multiple podcasts. He holds a MSc in Local Economic Development from LSE.

Sam Watts


Sam is a lawyer with a background in Commercial and Criminal law. He is qualified as a Solicitor in the UK, and as a Barrister and Solicitor in Australia. He has previously worked as the Crown Prosecutor for East London, co-founded a legal tech start-up and worked in management positions at multiple large organisations.

Mikkel Barslund


Mikkel is an economist with extensive experience in think tanks, government and academia. He was previously an Assistant Research Professor in Economics at the University of Copenhagen. Over the past ten years his work has focused primarily on economic policies within the EU. His expertise lies in economic modelling and econometric analysis. Mikkel holds a PhD in Economics from the University of Copenhagen.

Antonio Avila

Geospatial Data Scientist

Antonio is an economist specialised in data science and geographical analysis. His PhD is in Economic Geography at LSE, and he holds an MSc in Applied Social Data Science from LSE. Antonio has previously worked for the Central Bank of Spain, and on numerous research projects at LSE, UPF and TSE, where he has studied how environmental factors affect local GDP and economic growth. He is also a co-founder of the NGO Periodo Solidario.


Kiran Modi

Strategic Advisor

Kiran has a background as a management consultant having worked for McKinsey in the Middle East primarily in their digital business building practice. He also has a strong background in Economics, having worked at the HM Treasury, and having studied PPE at Oxford followed by a Masters from UChicago where he was on a full ride scholarship.

James Lo

Strategic Advisor

Prior to entrepreneurship, James worked at SoftBank Vision Fund, advising world-leading technology companies like Arm and Uber on how to grow sustainably, weather crises, and leverage their capabilities for social good. He was also a McKinsey consultant serving consumer, private equity and social sector clients on growth strategy.


ACTUAL provides state-of-the-art ESG modelling software and strategies for large enterprises and planet-scale initiatives. ACTUAL’s software has enabled global, nation-scale projects to get moving quickly, including Giga Connect, a UNICEF and ITU-led initiative to connect every school in the world to the internet, funded and partnered with SoftBank, the Musk Foundation, and BCG. The ACTUAL platform empowers leaders across industries to act on their ESG goals and set a path towards real change through a first-of-its-kind digital toolkit.  

We build off the institutional knowledge from the #1 Department in Economic Geography in the world

As of June 2021, the Department of Geography and Environment at LSE is the #1 ranked institution in Economic Geography worldwide

Source: IDEAS – largest bibliographic database dedicated to Economics on the internet. Based on RePEc, IDEAS indexes over 3,600,000 items of research.

We calculate GDP by transforming satellite imagery using machine learning

The use of luminosity data (from satellite imagery) as a proxy for economic activity was introduced in 2012 by Henderson et al. in the American Economic Review, the world’s leading economics journal. Since then, rigorous peer-reviewed research has scrutinised luminosity as proxy for GDP, including from Nobel Prize winners, The World Bank, and the IMF

These studies consistently find a strong relationship between these two variables. Our team of Fellows, Postdocs and PhDs from LSE, the #1 ranked Department of Economic Geography in the world improve on the literature with proprietary machine learning algorithms, new data processing methods and higher resolution satellite imagery.