Below you will find the full text content and links to the media used in our one-sheet biography.
This text is intended as a primer and the media as a resource for journalists and bloggers to write about BlueBadgeParking.com and help to #SpreadTheWord.
We very much appreciate all of the help you can give us to get the word out and help disabled drivers around the world – the more people who use the site, the better it becomes for everyone.
If you do write an article that’s published about BlueBadgeParking.com please let us know in the comments below.
In 2005 Dan Gibson’s partner Kate was diagnosed with MS. Her walking was becoming difficult but as all MSers do she struggled on.
Dan is an engineer. As an engineer he feels a compulsion to fix things. But that’s the thing with MS – it can’t really be fixed.
Over the course of the next year with the help of physios, OTs, doctors and the usual team of support Kate was managing symptoms, but still Dan had that itch – he needed to do something to help.
THE TRAVEL BUG
Kate has always loved to travel, be it local or further afield, and when she got her Blue Badge in 2006 it certainly made things easier but there was something missing.
Whenever they travelled to a new place they struggled to find information about dedicated disabled parking. Some local authorities had maps of town centres and some venues provided the information on their websites but it was all a bit hit and miss. The UK government run DirectGov website had a Blue Badge Parking map but even then this was out of date. (It was eventually abandoned in 2010!)
Since the early 90s Dan had dabbled in web design and while his early efforts were typical of the time – gaudy and clunky – and limited by early technology, some of his creations in the late ‘90s and beyond won awards from magazines and online journals such as Yahoo! Internet Life.
Could Dan create something online that would scratch that itch to help?
SCRATCHING THE ITCH
In 2006, using his time commuting to and from the day job, Dan created BlueBadgeParking.com. An online database and map of disabled / handicap parking spaces worldwide. Right from the start the system was built to be free and – as became vogue a couple of years later – ‘crowd-sourced’.
Who better to provide information about the location of disabled parking bays than the locals who know the area? What better way to help your fellow Blue Badge holders and handicap placard users than sharing your local knowledge for visitors?
he website grew in popularity over the next few years – slowly at first then picking up speed around 2010. Then in 2013 a bit of a disaster struck – Google Maps changed the way their systems worked and in the process killed BlueBadgeParking overnight.
Dan admits freely that this wasn’t Google’s fault at all.
They were improving their systems for the good of all users and had warned developers about the upcoming changes. Dan just believed that the changes would not impact BlueBadgeParking.com too severely.
The total failure of the site, however, prompted an overdue overhaul of the site design and the underlying code: throwing out the bad bits and re-writing from scratch but keeping the good bits; tidying up the database and laying the foundations for future new features; engaging Social Media.
The increased functionality of the new Google Maps system also meant that BlueBadgeParking.com could be made more intuitive, and the new features becoming common in smart phones meant that we could expand what the site could do – making it quicker and easier to use.
BLUE BADGE REBORN
In the spring of 2014 a whole new BlueBadgeParking.com launched and has quickly regained its international following.
The site is much more than just an online map, though. If you have a SatNav from one of the major SatNav manufacturers – Garmin, TomTom etc. – you can download the database to the device and use it to navigate directly to a dedicated parking space!
If you have a SatNav app on your smart phone or tablet then you can either download the database for the SatNav app to use, or use BlueBadgeParking.com’s ability to send a parking location directly to the app for navigation.
The online maps are printable so you can take a hard copy with you when heading somewhere new and the site has been optimised for smart phone and tablet use so BlueBadgeParking.com can be with you whenever and wherever you need it.
You can navigate by point-and-click, swipe, pinch-zoom etc. You can search for places by country, city or town, street address, post/zip code or even the name of a business, attraction or point of interest.
All of this is free and as all users can add and update locations very easily it is a up to date and complete as you make it. Don’t complain that your area is poorly covered – fix it and you’ve helped the next person who looks.
FREE FOR ALL
BlueBadgeParking.com is entirely funded by its creator. There are no charges for using the site, downloading the database or printing the maps (other than data charges your network provider makes for internet access). No registration is needed so the site is not collecting and passing on your personal details for profit or any other purpose.
The site is provided to help people to help themselves and others – simple as that.
If you want to know more, head to BlueBadgeParking.com and have a browse around. if you have a couple of minutes to add a couple of spaces you know about, even better – you’ll be helping people out all over the planet.
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