Frequently Asked Questions
How do I sign up for GEM?
Visit our page for more information on the different options of accessing the Greenlink Equity Map. How to Access GEM.
If I don’t qualify as a city staff member or a community based organization can I still get access?
We’re happy to discuss subscription access, you can schedule a demo here or email us at email@example.com.
How do I reset my password?
Go to the gem.equitymap.org login page. Click the forgot password link under the space to type in your password. Follow the instructions to reset your password code. Your password must be between 8 - 16 characters and contain at least 1 uppercase letter and 1 lowercase letter and one special character. If the password reset link doesn't work, someone from the Greenlink staff can help verify you, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How do I verify my email?
Go to the gem.equitymap.org login page. Type in your email into the email space. Find the resend verification link under the box to type in your password. Users can click this to resend a verification code to their email. If the resend link doesn't work, someone from the Greenlink staff can help verify you, please contact us at email@example.com.
How do I get additional support?
You can contact us here to book a demo or a consultation.
What are the sources of the Greenlink Equity Map Indicators, and how often are they updated?
Visit our How to Use GEM page for a full list of indicators, definitions, sources of data, year of data, and how often the data is updated.
What is the methodology for calculating energy burden?
Our analysis is based on a peer-reviewed methodology that utilizes high-resolution data from the Census Bureau. Data from nearly 75,000 census tracts are processed and cleaned to calculate the utility burdens at a neighborhood level across the entirety of the US. You can download a description of our methodology on our Equity Map page.
What makes the GEM platform different from the Department of Energy’s Low-Income Energy Affordability Data (LEAD) tool?
Our analysis is based on a peer-reviewed methodology that utilizes high-resolution data from the Census Bureau. Data from nearly 75,000 census tracts are processed and cleaned to calculate the utility burdens at a neighborhood level across the entirety of the US. In the past, we have compared our approach with the DOE’s approach to real electricity bill data from utilities. We discovered that our methodology resulted in 10% better accuracy and had better coverage (the DOE tool is missing about 25% of tracts nationally). Our methodology has since been reviewed and approved by a number of academics, including Nobel Prize winners, professors in energy justice, and administrators and evaluators of the California Transformative Climate Communities program. Our data was recently published in the peer-reviewed conference proceedings of the ACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency on Buildings, and a scientific journal article using our data is forthcoming. In general, we recommend using the DOE LEAD tool in instances where there is no other information available.
What causes high energy burdens?
High energy burdens are caused by utility bills exceeding 3% of the household expenditures.
Some census tracts in my city have extremely low median incomes. Is this normal?
Yes, there may be some census tracts with median incomes as low as $3,000-$5,000. These are considered special use cases and are usually geographies that contain a military base, college or university campuses or group quarters.
I can only see county and tract data, can I see city boundary data to compare tracts to the city?
Right now, our platform only shows data per county that make up a city. We're working with our developers to provide city boundary data, which will show you clearly which census tracts fall within the city.
Is it possible to download and access GEM data?
Yes, in the bottom right-hand corner of the map you’ll see the option to download the data as a CSV file as well as the map as a PNG file.
Is it possible to download data from input sources?
Anyone can download the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS) microdata. Researchers can also register for access to Integrated Public Use Microdata Series (IPUMS) and download data. While we're presenting the treated, cleaned, weighted results of an analysis on these data, the data sources themselves are available publicly.
Is there a way to visualize user-provided data?
We currently do not have a way to visualize user-provided data, but it is on the list for our next build, which will be carried out this year. We do have the ability to make customized inputs and integrate those for visualization alongside the equity indicators in GEM. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in creating a custom visualization.
How do I use the search bar?
Search for the neighborhood, ZIP code, city, county, state, or census tract number you would like to view. Hover on an individual census tract to select it and see specific data points about that area.
How do I select an indicator?
Select an equity indicator from the drop-down list to view on the map. The indicator will be displayed by census tract. Hover on an individual census tract to see specific data points about that area.
How do I use the layering function?
The tool allows you to explore the relationship between two equity indicators by layering the data of each indicator. To see two equity indicators layered over each other, select a second indicator from the bottom drop down menu. The diamond legend in the bottom right-hand corner allows you to see how these indicators interact with one another. Indicator 1 represents the first indicator chosen from the top drop down menu, while indicator 2 represents the second chosen indicator. Each indicator is split into thirds of their respective values. L, M, H in the legend stand for Low, Moderate, High. For example, a neighborhood with a ‘H-H’ color indicates the highest rates of the first and second indicators and a neighborhood with a ‘M-L’ color indicates that this neighborhood experiences moderate levels of indicator 1 and low levels of indicator 2.
How do I use the filter function?
The platform allows you to filter the data focusing the attention on the desired populations to identify where there are higher levels of inequity for a selected indicator. Use the slider to create a focus on specific population segments. Setting the slider to 0% shows the chosen indicator data for all neighborhoods, while setting the slider to 75% only shows census tracts that experience the highest 25% of the chosen equity indicator. For example, selecting asthma as an indicator and setting the slider to 75% will only show you census tracts that experience the top 25% of asthma rates.
Process Guide and Community of Practice:
What is the process guide?
The GEM Process Guide for City Community Partnerships by lead author and expert facilitator Rosa Gonzalez (Facilitating Power), was created specifically for city staff working towards deepening collaboration with the communities they serve. The Process Guide details emerging best practices and guidance for working in partnership with community organizations to develop a shared analysis of equity data and maps.
Where do I find the process guide?
You can download it here.
What is the community of practice?
The Community of Practice supports community-based practitioners and city staff using the GEM platform who are committed to learning more about how data and mapping can advance climate equity goals. Monthly calls, network building, and resource sharing help users learn from each other and build productive relationships between frontline communities and city government. Through peer consultancy, leadership, and participation, community of practice members develop skills and troubleshoot challenges creating solutions for racially equitable climate action. You can join the community of practice here.