We describe systematic beam and laboratory measurements, carried out with s
ingle and double GEM detectors with printed circuit read-out. The maximum s
afe operating gain has been measured at increasing radiation flux, and unde
r exposure to heavily ionizing tracks. Detection efficiency, localization a
ccuracy, time resolution and avalanche size have been measured in a minimum
ionizing particle beam. Two-dimensional localization of radiation is demon
strated, with a readout electrode realized by the same GEM technology.