When we move our eyes, we easily keep track of where relevant things are in the world. Recent proposals link this stability to the shifting of receptive fields of neurons in eye movement and attention control areas. Reports of ‘spatiotopic’ visual aftereffects have also been claimed to support this shifting connectivity even at an early level, but these results have been challenged. Here, the process of updating visual location is described as predictive shifts of location ‘pointers’ to attended targets, analogous to predictive activation seen cross-modally. We argue that these location pointers, the core operators of spatial attention, are linked to identity information and that such a link is necessary to establish a workable visual architecture and to explain frequently reported positive spatiotopic biases.