The Observatory of Economic Complexity is a tool that allows users to quickly compose a visual narrative about countries and the products they exchange. It was Alexander Simoes' Master Thesis in Media Arts and Sciences at the MIT Media Lab, which you can read here.

The project was conducted at The MIT Media Lab Macro Connections group. Alex’s Advisor was César A. Hidalgo, principal investigator of Macro Connections. Since its creation in 2010, the development of The Observatory of Economic Complexity has been supported by The MIT Media Lab consortia for undirected research.

For a history of the contributions to The Observatory of Economic Complexity, you can view the project’s contributions timeline on Github. A predecessor of the Observatory of Economic Complexity is the product space site, built by César Hidalgo as a graduate student at Notre Dame in 2007.

Current Team

Alexander Simoes

2010 - Present


Alex is the lead developer on the Observatory project. He has been working in the Macro Connections group developing technologies to better inform policy and decision makers by equipping them with tools to make sense of large datasets.

Dave Landry

2012 - Present


Dave lead the 2013 redesign of the website, along with being co-author of the underlying visualization engine D3plus.

César Hidalgo

2010 - Present


César is the Asahi Broadcast Corporation Career Development Professor and an Assistant Professor at the MIT Media Lab. His work focuses on improving the understanding of systems using and developing concepts of complexity, evolution and network science.

Past Contributors

Eric Franco

2012 - 2013


Eric was responsible for maintaining the site and incorporating new data as it became available.

Sarah Chung

2011 - 2012


Sarah worked on developing algorithms for cleaning the raw SITC bilateral trade used on the site.

Crystal Noel

2011 - 2012

Crystal helped improve some of the original visualizations and code-base.

Ali Almossawi

2010 - 2011


Ali was instrumental in the initial design, programming, and launch of The Observatory.