Frequently Asked Questions

GEM 2.0

Can I access GEM 2.0 how I normally access GEM?

  • Returning users:

When logging onto GEM 2.0 for the first time, you will need to reset your password here by pressing “Don’t remember your password?” You will then be asked to enter your associated email address. Once submitting your email address, an email from will be sent for you to confirm your password change request within 5 minutes. You will hit confirm on the email and then you will be redirected to a page to create a new password. Once you finalize your new password, hit “submit” and a “password reset successful” page will display. You can then go back to the log-in page to access the new platform.​


  • New users:

Visit our page for more information on different options for accessing the Greenlink Equity Map. When signing up for the first time, you will enter your email address and a password. The page will then load a pop up that requires additional information to notify us of your signup. Once we confirm your information, you will be notified of your approval within 15 minutes when you sign up between the hours of Monday through Friday from 9 am to 5:30pm.


  • ​For both returning and new users, please note that the pop-up with red messaging of "An admin needs to activate your account and assign an organization," means your sign-up was successful. You will receive a confirmation from our team soon with the status of your approval.

I haven’t received a password reset request, what should I do now?

  • If you went through the steps of resetting your password but have not received an email within 15 minutes, try the following:

  1. Check your spam folder to ensure the email was not sent there, and in the future, you can update your spam folder to allow emails from

  2. Double check the spelling of your email address to ensure that a typo was not made.

  3. Try submitting your password request again in case the interference was an issue. If you have conducted all of these steps and you’re still having trouble, please book an office hour with us or contact us directly at the email

What will happen to the previous platform?

  • The same link used for legacy GEM will also be used for GEM 2.0. Beginning in May of 2022, legacy GEM will no longer be available for access.

Are there any updated requirements to who gets access to GEM?

  • Originally, free access to GEM was granted to only city-staff and CBOs located in our 50 leadership cities. Fortunately as of 2022, grant funding is extended to local CBOs anywhere in the country! We would be happy to discuss subscription access if you feel that you do not fall into one of these categories. You can schedule a demo or email us at


Am I still able to download the data as I did previously?

  • Yes! In the box where you set your indicators, you will see at the bottom, that there is an option to download the data and maps. If you press the download button, it will allow you to download the data as a CSV data file or PNG map.

How do I zoom in and zoom out on the map?

  • If you're using a laptop with a trackpad, simply place two fingers on your trackpad and pinch them together to zoom out or move them apart to zoom in over the intended area for viewing. If you have a mouse wheel, you should scroll up to zoom in and scroll down to zoom out.


Are we still able to view city boundaries?

  • To enable city boundaries, ensure that the boundary in the indicator box is checked to on (highlighted in orange), simply click again to disable them.


What improvements will I see on the new platform?

  • When accessing GEM 2.0, you will notice improvements to the user interface and functionality! Improvements include data updates from the year 2019 for almost all indicators and restructure to the entire platform for better user experience and increased usability of the tool. We will also be expecting the additions of urban tree canopy, urban heat island, change over time, equity index, transportation burden, redlining data, and user input later this year.


How do I get additional support with adjusting to 2.0?

  • If you have any questions, we are here to help. You can contact us here to book a demo or also email us.


[How to use GEM video]


How do I sign up for GEM?

  • Visit our How to Access GEM page for more information on the different options of accessing the Greenlink Equity Map.  

If I don’t qualify as a city staff member or a community based organization can I still get access?

How do I reset my password?

  • Go to the 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 lower case 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

How do I verify my email?

  • After completing your account log-in from your first sign-up, you will receive an email from that includes a verification link. Once you click the link, it will take you to a verification success page. If users need their confirmation codes resent to their email, please email “resend confirmation code” to

How do I get additional support?


Where does the data in GEM come from? How often is the data updated?

  • Visit our How to Use GEM page[1] [2]  for a full list of indicators, definitions, sources of data, year of data, and how often the data is updated.


What methodology was used to calculate energy burden?

  • Our analysis is based on a peer-reviewed methodology that primarily 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 view a description of our methodology on our Equity Map page.

How does Greenlink define energy burden? How do I know if an area has a high energy burden?

  • Energy burden is the percent of median yearly income that households pay for electricity and gas bills. Our indicators show the number of households with energy burdens above the 3% national average, the 6% threshold for high energy burden, or the 10% threshold for severe energy burden across different census tracts.  


What makes GEM  different from other equity tools?

  • 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 burdens at a neighborhood level across the entirety of the US. 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 has been vetted by utilities, published in several peer-reviewed articles, and used in regulatory and legislative settings. We have newly included 2019 data and have more features that will be added such as  urban heat island, burden tree canopy, transportation burden and redlining data, as well as an equity index, user data input functionality, and change over time data indicator to measure our progress and inform stronger climate equity goals that communities identify as needs.


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.


Some data does not pop up when I hover over some census tracts. Is this normal? 

  • Yes, there are some census tracts that we do not have data for. These tracts usually are military bases or prisons.

Is it possible to download and access GEM data? 

  • Yes! In the box where you set your indicators, you will see in the bottom right corner, there is an option to download. If you press the download button, it will prompt you to download the data as a CSV file or PNG. 


Is it possible to download data from input sources?

  • Anyone can download the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS) microdata. Additional Census data we use frequently comes from the Integrated Public Use Microdata Series (IPUMS); researchers can also register for access to download data. GEM presents treated, cleaned, weighted results of analysis using these data, but the raw 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 an upcoming feature. We do have the ability to make customized inputs and integrate those for visualization alongside the equity indicators in GEM. Please contact us at if you are interested in creating a custom visualization.


How do I use the search bar?

  • Anything that you can search in Google Maps, you can search in GEM! 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?

  • GEM 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 on the right allows you to see how these indicators interact with one another. Indicator 1 represents the first indicator chosen from the drop down menu, while indicator 2 represents the second chosen indicator. The legend grid displayed includes 3 colors (blue, green, and yellow) with 3 shades (light, medium, and dark), each corresponding to minimum, median, or maximum values for a given indicator. The differentiation between indicator 1 values can be described by a shade change, while the values for indicator 2 correspond to a change in color. For example, a neighborhood with a dark yellow color has the highest rates of the first and second indicators and a neighborhood with a medium blue color experiences moderate levels of indicator 1 and low levels of indicator 2.


How do I use the filter function?

  • GEM 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.


How can I learn more about how others have used GEM in the past?

  • To learn about the many ways GEM has been used in dozes of communities all across the US, view our GEM Stories page 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.